Patients suffering from diabetes and peripheral neuropathy often experience loss of sensation in their arms and legs. A decrease in feeling can lead to increased concerns about fall risk, which, in turn, can contribute to inactivity and instability. This vicious cycle, whereby patients limit their physical activity to avoid falling, can translate into loss of muscle mass and decreases in strength and coordination, too. The consequences of moving less often involve more falls and falls of greater severity.
When it comes to balance and neuropathy, concern about falling often directly correlates with the number of steps taken per day and the duration of walking sessions. For example, those least concerned about stumbling enjoy 50 percent more walking sessions and step counts than their counterparts who rate their balance as shakier, per Sensors.
Here’s what you need to know about neuropathy and balance to help your patients stay more active and independent.
Balance and Neuropathy
An estimated 30 million people in the United States deal with peripheral neuropathy. Among those most likely to experience this condition are individuals diagnosed with diabetes and patients who have undergone chemotherapy.
How much does peripheral neuropathy increase fall risk? According to Diabetic Medicine, it increases 23 times in those with diabetes mellitus and three times in those who’ve gone through chemotherapy. Unfortunately, when patients feel off-balance, they limit their physical activity. This, in turn, leads to worsening overall health and exacerbated risks of taking a tumble.
Why Early Intervention Matters
For this reason, it’s essential to recognize the symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy early so that therapeutic interventions can be taken to mitigate damage and alleviate the progression of symptoms. But many patients don’t know what the red flags of neuropathy are. (These 10 neuropathy symptoms are an excellent place to start.) What’s more, they may not be aware that treatments to help manage neuropathy exist.
Providing patients and their caretakers with the knowledge and resources needed to improve health outcomes is essential in your role as an independent pharmacist or convenient care clinician. Your position as a medical professional permits you to delve more deeply into patients’ health, which means you can help customers who might otherwise fall through the cracks when it comes to the recognition and diagnosis of this condition.
The NeuropaCalm Difference
Independent pharmacies and convenient care clinics play a vital role in ensuring patients have access to superior neuropathy treatment protocols. Your facility offers patients medical consultations, which means you have opportunities to build a rapport with your clientele. Likely, diabetic patients comprise a large cross-section of those seen at your pharmacy or clinic. This population suffers disproportionately from peripheral neuropathy.
Many take medications such as statins, pregabalin, and gabapentin, so you have consistent chances to interact with them as they pick up prescriptions. Every point of contact with patients and their caretakers represents a chance to educate them about fall risk, balance, and neuropathy.
We can help you start the discussion by providing your facility with the resources and knowledge to properly diagnose the condition and offer appropriate therapeutic interventions via the NeuropaCalm Care Program.
Contact us today to learn more about this exciting new treatment program and to schedule a webinar for more in-depth information about how to bring it to your facility.