Peripheral neuropathy is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes pain, tingling and numbness in the hands and feet. It happens when the peripheral nerves that send messages from your brain and spinal cord are damaged. Though there are treatments that can take care of the symptoms, there are no existing options that can prevent or reverse nerve degeneration. This condition is very common in diabetes patients. They experience ongoing nerve damage that leads to loss of sensation. This is why they frequently burn and damage their feet and hands. In most of these cases, the damage is permanent with little or no therapeutic relief
According to a research at Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, an enzyme responsible for peripheral neuropathy induced by cancer chemotherapy also plays a role in peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes. Researchers say that the identification of a common molecular mechanism means that now many more patients may benefit from drugs that target this mechanism. They say that around 300 million people around the world are diabetic. And, 50 to 60 per cent of diabetics suffer from peripheral neuropathy. They sound a word of caution by saying that this number may double in the coming decades.
RESEARCHERS BRING HOPE FOR PATIENTS OF PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY
Hence, peripheral neuropathy is a growing health concern. Researchers say that the identification of the ‘mechanism underlying glucose-induced peripheral neuropathy means that millions of patients could potentially benefit from the development of drugs that influence this pathway’. Earlier, researchers had identified two compounds that prevent and reverse this condition caused by exposure to cancer chemotherapy agents. In this study, they tested the effectiveness of one of these compounds in preventing glucose-induced peripheral neuropathy. They saw that the compound was effective in zebrafish and in mice, which are mammals like humans. Hence, they are hopeful that this will work in human too.
This study is published in the Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications.
Researchers of another study at the Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry found that a bodily protein allows nerves of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) to repair itself after an injury. They are hopeful that this may lead to effective repair therapies for those who have suffered peripheral nerve damage as a result of types 1 and 2 diabetes. The Journal of Cell Biology published this study.
NATURAL METHODS OF COPING WITH PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY
There are no treatment methods currently for this condition and doctors usually prescribe medicines according to the symptoms. But you can use some natural methods that can help you deal with this disorder.
Add cayenne pepper to your diet
Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which is known to be a good pain reliever. This can also help with neuropathic pain. You can also buy ointments that contain capsaicin. These are easily available now. But be sure to consult your doctor before buying and using any products from the market.
Give up smoking
Smoking can narrow down the blood vessels and adversely affect circulation. If you are already a diabetic, this can aggravate your neuropathy symptoms. Stop smoking immediately to get the benefits.
Make exercise a way of life. If you lead an active lifestyle, you will be able to control your blood sugar levels. This will slow down nerve damage. Though peripheral neuropathy cannot be reversed, its progression can be slowed down by regular exercises.
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