What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy, sometimes called peripheral neuritis, is damage to the nerves that connect peripheral (outlying) portions of the body (especially the hands, arms, legs, and feet) to the central nervous system. It may involve only one peripheral nerve (mono-neuropathy) or several nerves (poly-neuropathy).
The human body like the electrical wiring in your house has a complex network that extends from the brain to the spinal cord and all parts of your body. This network of nerves makes it possible for the brain to send and receive messages. When there is damage in any part of this network the peripheral nerves are not able to receive or send any information. Most Patients do not feel that part of the body or feel it numb.
Peripheral neuropathy is a symptom more than a disease. It is the result of nerve damage caused by toxic substances. More than 2 million Americans suffer from peripheral neuropathy. It is more common in older people and most of the cases are present in the 65 year or older population.
The symptoms depend on which type of nerve is affected. Sensory nerves generate various sensations. Motor nerve fiber affects the muscles with a weakness sensation. The symptoms develop some times over many years and gradually. It can start with a burning or tingling sensation for example in toes and feet and the area could also be affected with numbness. The symptoms progress to legs, fingers, hands and even the trunk. Many times there is a sharp electric shock like sensation. The symptoms then begin with problems with muscles and balance. In many cases people are affected when they kneel down and try to stand up, become dizzy and can fall easily. In other cases there could be incontinence and other more critical symptoms.
Peripheral nerves can be damaged by Diabetes, Alcoholism, Auto immune diseases and toxic substances.
Some other causes can include liver and kidney disease, thyroid disease, bacterial and viral diseases as well as cancer. In many cases the cause is unknown.
Depending on the cause sometimes the symptoms can be reversed but in other case this is not possible.
Treatment also depends on the cause. For Diabetics following a good diet and control blood sugar can reverse many of the symptoms. For alcoholics leaving alcohol and maintaining a proper diet can be a good way to recover. Reducing many of the symptoms is a matter of maintaining a good healthy lifestyle.
There also many habits that can be good to relieve many of the symptoms:
Keeping shoes and stockings loose, as well as soaking feet in cool water.
Maintaining bed covers off of feet at night.
Reducing or eliminating caffeine and nicotine.
Hydrotherapy in Walk-in tubs for patients with Neuropathy
Hydrotherapy will calm the symptoms for many patients. People who use a walk in tub with hydrotherapy control or relieve many of the symptoms. Contrast hydrotherapy which is alternated hot and cold water is not recommended for those who have numbness.They can get burned and not feel it. In addition this is not something that can be easily worked in a walk in tub, since the temperature is maintained through warm air from the jets.
Fountain of Youth walk in bathtubs are a great way to relieve stress at the end of the day for people that have neuropathy. A good time relaxing will make one forget about the daily routine and is helpful for health in general. A good hydrotherapy session increases blood circulation and help the general health of a person with peripheral neuropathy.