Damage to the nervous system manifests as peripheral neuropathy. It can impact patients in many debilitating ways, from chronic pain to loss of independence, amputation to increased fall risk. Left untreated, the disease may leave individuals without a driver’s license, sleep deprived, or in a wheelchair. Many factors increase the likelihood of developing the condition. These include diabetes and alcohol abuse.
But do your patients understand the link between peripheral neuropathy and chronic stress? Keep reading for the full scoop on this important topic.
What Patients Need to Know About Peripheral Neuropathy
Examining the link between peripheral neuropathy and chronic stress requires understanding the condition. While we can define neuropathy as damage to the nervous system, how does this manifest in patients? Some of the most common complaints include tingling, numbness, pins and needles sensation, nerve pain, and burning.
Because symptoms can vary widely, the condition remains underdiagnosed. But ignoring neuropathy comes with devastating consequences. Early detection is key. After diagnosis, patients can address the underlying condition while taking steps to mitigate and prevent further damage and symptom manifestation.
What Patients Need to Know About Chronic Stress
Stress has become a hot topic in recent years. But individuals may be less familiar with the term “chronic stress.” A person must experience continuous or long-term pressure to be characterized as suffering from chronic stress. Everything from finances to relationships, work, and other life circumstances can fuel chronic stress. Red flags include:
How can patients differentiate chronic stress from the challenges faced in day-to-day life? The difference has to do with how the body reacts. With chronic stress, your emotional state and physical body are both dramatically impacted.
As a result, chronic stress can contribute to mental and physical health conditions. Finding ways to manage stressors is essential to dealing with chronic stress. Neuropathy patients also require knowledge about how anxiety can intensify the disease.
Peripheral Neuropathy and Chronic Stress
When it comes to the relationship between peripheral neuropathy and chronic stress, the research is clear. Chronic stress damages the nervous system. Yet, many patients fail to recognize that unmanaged anxiety and nervousness lead to physical tingling, numbness, pain, and more.
The associations don’t end there. Chronic stress can also exacerbate diabetes, the most common underlying condition for peripheral neuropathy. How? By making it difficult for the body to regulate blood sugar levels properly. Moreover, high blood sugar levels damage nerves. Adding insult to injury is the fact stressed-out people crave snacks high in carbs and sugar, creating a vicious cycle that undermines well-being.
Encouraging Patients to Reduce Stress Levels
The relationship between peripheral neuropathy and chronic stress is undeniable. But there is hope for patients caught up in a toxic mix of outside stimuli and internal responses: reducing stress. Effective stress management results in:
Recognizing the benefits of chronic stress reduction is just one facet of interrupting a dangerous biological response. Patients also need simple tips to put self-calming into action. Some of the most effective recommendations include exercising regularly, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep.
Individuals dealing with stress should also take consistent breaks and develop a support network of people who they can talk to when frazzled, overwhelmed, or upset. Participating in relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga can also offset the mental and physical health consequences of stress.
Addressing Peripheral Neuropathy
The relationship between peripheral neuropathy and chronic stress should not be ignored. But it’s not the be-all, end-all when it comes to addressing nerve damage. Besides encouraging patients to reduce their stress levels, it’s also vital to assist them in managing the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. Fortunately, our understanding of the condition has led to cutting-edge care protocols providing patients hope and a path to successful management.
Are you ready to find out more about peripheral neuropathy care management and how to bring it to your pharmacy? Contact us today for information about the NeuropaCalm Care Program, how it works, and next steps for offering it at your pharmacy.