Hi, this is Dr. Farley. I’m going to be going over some concepts about peripheral neuropathy. I think we need to connect some dots here to let everyone understand the significance of peripheral neuropathy. What I mean by that is people are told that it’s nerve damage in your hands and your feet and they just assume that it’s a hand or foot problem. Well, neuropathy means damage to the nerves but we must remember that the nerves are connected to the spinal cord and also connected to the brain. So, peripheral neuropathy can be caused by issues with the brain and the spinal cord which includes the spine, the discs, the spinal bones and the nerves that go down the leg to the hands and feet. We must realize that if you have nerve damage (neuropathy) in your hands and feet it’s likely you are also having autonomic peripheral neuropathy. Autonomic peripheral neuropathy is significant. I don’t think that anyone has explained this to you because most people don’t know about it and believe that it’s a foot or a hand problem or it’s a carpal tunnel problem. No! It’s a severe nervous system problem. Not in the sense that you might have to get your foot amputated, although you might if it’s bad enough, but more importantly if you have autonomic peripheral neuropathy, it’s significant. Many times there are no symptoms and yet there’s neuropathy and peripheral autonomic neuropathy which can be a sign when you have numbness or tingling or pain in your hands and your feet. If you have neuropathy in your hands or your feet, you likely also have peripheral autonomic neuropathy which is an autonomic disease. This can be taking place for decades before you get any symptoms. If your symptoms are in your hands or your feet, it would be unlikely that you don’t have neuropathy in your autonomic nervous system. This can be going on for decades for 20 or 40 years before you finally get symptoms. Maybe you’re coming in because you have some numbness in your hands and your feet and you think that’s where the big problem is. But at the same time, you have erectile dysfunction, constipation, heart arrhythmia, any other type of hormonal issues, your sleep is not very good, you’re having issues with your kidneys or blood pressure, issues with your sex hormones, PMS problems, dry eyes, issues in your mouth or with your tongue and gastroesophageal reflux disease. These all can be signs of dysautonomia caused from peripheral neuropathy of the autonomic nervous system. The #1 cause of death in the US is heart disease. About 650,000 people a year die of a heart attack and only about 30% of those people have issues with atherosclerosis meaning that this is clogging of the arteries. We’re all caught on clogging of the arteries but 70% of the people have what’s called severe autonomic dysfunction and sudden cardiac death so they just drop dead. So, what killed them? Many times it’s not clogged arteries, it is dysautonomia and part of that dysautonomia is peripheral neuropathy of the autonomic nervous system which then causes the heart to just stop. So, if you’re coming to my office for neuropathy symptoms, I think you need to be expanding your mind to look at this as a health problem. This is not a problem with the nerves in your feet and your hands and your legs…this is a health problem which likely will have devastating negative consequences increasing your morbidity and mortality rate dramatically. We need to measure and do what we can to get the system healthy. Expand your mind. This is a health problem not a hand or foot problem. I’ll be posting some research and a couple of good books to read. One is called “Clinical Autonomic Dysfunction”. Another is “Clinical Autonomic and Mitochondrial Disorders”. There is a ton of information in these books to support what I just explained to you. We also have other technology that we use to measure the autonomics and heart rate variability with the use of an AngioScan. It’s a way to measure what is likely happening overall in your autonomic nervous system and autonomic neuropathy which is the #1 cause of death in the US as heart attacks. As always, if you have any questions, please let me know.

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