If you have diabetes, there is a 50 percent chance you will end up with peripheral neuropathy. This condition is characterized by numbness, tingling, and pain. It usually effects your feet and lower legs. It is caused by the high amount of sugar in your blood damaging nerves. It can keep you from sleeping, affect your daily activities, and cause mood swings. Unfortunately, once the nerves are damaged, there is no cure. You can work to keep the problem from worsening and there are a few options for managing the pain.
Initially, you may be able to get by with over-the-counter pain relievers. If these do not help, your doctor may prescribe a variety of medications to help manage your neuropathy pain. To keep you from becoming dependent on pain killers, he or she may start by prescribing anti-seizure and/or antidepressant drugs. You may also use creams or ointments containing capsaicin to decrease the strength of the pain as the signals reach the nerves. Of course, your doctor will also be keeping an eye on your blood sugar levels and working with you to adjust the medication and keep your diabetes under control.
A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit is a small, battery-operated device. You carry the unit in a pocket. Two electrodes connected to the unit are attached to the spots on your body that has the most pain. You program the unit to emit currents in different wavelengths and frequencies. These little jolts change the pain signal as it travels to your brain so you do not feel the pain in the same way, or as intense.
An acupuncturist inserts tiny needles into specific areas to help relieve pain. There are two theories on why acupuncture works to relieve neuropathy pain management. The Chinese feel the needles disrupt the flow of energy, relieving the pain. Western medicine believes the relief is felt because the needles stimulate the release of endorphins. It doesn’t matter which you believe, it can’t hurt to try it.
Controlling your diabetes is the best way to keep from suffering with diabetic neuropathy. However, even people who always take their meds and watch their diet can eventually end up with this complication. You do not have to suffer. Don’t spend your nights tossing and turning, losing sleep. This will only make your blood sugar harder to control. Talk with your doctor about the different options available to manage the pain. Also, consider contacting a pharmacy such as Potter’s House Apothecary, Inc, for ideas about which medications might help.
There are two main types of allergies-those that you see and feel on your skin and internal allergies caused by the ingestion of an allergen specific to your makeup. Sometimes an internal allergen can present itself on your skin, while an external allergen can cause internal symptoms. An allergy physician, or an allergist, can determine where and how the allergen made contact with you and how best to treat your reactions.
Contact Dermatitis vs. Allergic Reaction from Within
Contact dermatitis is a strictly, skin-only allergic reaction to something on your skin. It has quite a different look and texture to it than an allergic reaction that starts from within your body and surfaces on your skin. When you are referred to an allergist, the allergist can take one look at the rash on your skin and know right away whether it is a contact dermatitis situation (like poison ivy) or an internal allergic reaction. If he diagnoses you with a contact dermatitis rash, then you need to avoid a number of things that your skin touched in the last twenty-four hours and he or she will prescribe a topical medication. If it is an internal allergen causing your skin to flare up, then the next steps are a little more complicated.
Internal Allergic Reactions Presenting Themselves on Your Skin
When the allergist knows or suspects that the reaction on your skin is the surfacing of a deeper allergic reaction to something internally, he or she will perform some tests. Sometimes a “scratch” test will look for common allergens, testing you for any number of allergens that could cause a rash to surface on your skin after ingesting something. At other times, the allergist may just prescribe a round of antihistamines or a short-term round of corticosteroids to eliminate the effects of the allergen quickly. If your body responds to the medications, then the doctor knows with absolute certainty that you ingested something you should not have, and these medications work well enough for you that you can keep some on hand to treat another flare-up in the future.
Taking an Ingestion History
The allergist (for future reference) may take an ingestion history as well. Anything that you have consumed in the last twenty-four to forty-eight hours that was out of the ordinary for you should be included, since many people discover that they have a food or drink allergen only after they have consumed it for the first time. From this history, the doctor can choose to perform additional tests that could benefit you in the future by alerting you to your unknown allergens and preventing you from taking them internally. In doing so, you will also avoid any further dermatological abnormalities that accompany your internal allergies.