A serious case of peripheral neuropathy can be both debilitating and devastating. In observance of Neuropathy Awareness Month, Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, is sharing information regarding the early warning signs of this condition.
When symptoms are at their worst, the pain can be so intense and constant that it keeps you up at night. In some cases, patients are left unable to drive, enjoy their favorite activities, or work. And not even a mix of powerful pain relievers taken daily can fully relieve the discomfort.
The nerves can become so damaged when the disease progresses that your feet go numb. And while you might be grateful for some relief from your symptoms, this is the worst outcome because you’re now much more disposed to life-threatening infections, injuries, and wounds.
Neuropathy is a very slow-moving, deceptive disease. You can have it for years without even noticing more than some intermittent cramping or an occasional tingle that’s easily explained away.
If patients don’t take the proper steps to stop it in its early stage, it will advance to the more painful version. And the more damage the nerves sustain, the more difficult it will be to ease the pain and reestablish healthy function.
Peripheral Neuropathy: The Early Warning Signs
Sadly, not all cases of peripheral neuropathy exhibit symptoms in the early stages, making early detection even more challenging.
Be on the lookout for any of the following symptoms:
- Unexplained pain or sensations: Patients might experience symptoms like sudden “electric shock” pain, hypersensitivity to temperature or touch, burning sensations, itchiness, or other strange physical issues that don’t seem to have a clear cause.
- Tingling: Many patients feel like their feet are asleep, usually after putting pressure on a limb or sitting cross-legged.
- Ulcers, injuries, or cuts that aren’t healing. Neuropathy can dull your ability to feel pain, so you may not notice injuries or cuts.
- Balance issues or weaknesses. Your sensory nerves aren’t the only kind of nerves that can be affected by neuropathy. Motor nerves that control movement and muscles in the legs and feet can also be affected. Having trouble feeling your feet contact the ground can create balance issues.
It should be noted that patients living with diabetes are at a higher risk of experiencing peripheral neuropathy. And while these symptoms may be unrelated to neuropathy, it’s always wise to get a complete checkup if you suspect an issue. And although it may take some time for neuropathy to progress to a more serious stage, there’s no time to lose.
If you have any of these symptoms and want to know if they're caused by neuropathy, contact Dr. Hubert Lee and his team at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, to schedule a visit. You can schedule an appointment online or by calling us at 425-455-0936.