Published On: Wed, May 22nd, 2019

The treatment of diabetic nerve damage (neuropathies) using acupuncture therapy

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The treatment of diabetic nerve damage (neuropathies) using acupuncture therapy

Healthy living With Dr. Nanchak Nimzing
Pone No: 08036787758, 09052597025

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. It is characterized by hyperglycemia causing excessive thirst and the production of large volumes of urine. Diabetes has long-term effects, and when left uncontrolled, it has disastrous consequences on the nerves, the eyes (diabetic retinopathy), the kidneys (renal damage), the heart (diabetic heart disease), the skin (diabetic dermopathy) and the feet.
Diabetic neuropathies are a family of nerve disorders that are caused by diabetes mellitus either Type 1 or Type 2. People with diabetes can, over time, develop damage to nerves throughout the whole body. These neuropathies (or disorders of the nervous system) lead to numbness and occasionally pain and weakness in the hands, arms, feet and legs. Problems may also be experienced in every organ system of the body including the digestive tract, the heart, and the sex organs. It is possible for people with diabetes to develop nerve problems at any time, but generally speaking the longer a person has diabetes, the greater is the risk of developing a diabetic neuropathy.
Diabetic neuropathies affect different parts of the body in different ways and these symptoms are classified as:
• Perpheral
• Autonomic
• Focal
1. Peripheral neuropathy causes either pain or loss of feeling in the toes, feet, legs, hands, and arms. This is the most common type of diabetic neuropathy.
Many people with diabetes have signs of neuropathy upon examination but have no symptoms at all. However, symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include:
• Numbness or insensitivity to pain or temperature
• A tingling, burning, or prickling sensation
• Sharp pain or cramps
• Extreme sensitivity to touch, even a light touch
• Loss of balance and coordination
• Muscle weakness
These symptoms are often found to be worse during the night.
2. Autonomic neuropathy causes changes in digestion, bowel and bladder function, sexual response, vision, and perspiration. It can also affect the nerves that serve the heart and control blood pressure and control blood glucose levels. When there is nerve damage to the digestive system this most commonly causes constipation and frequent diarrhea. Nerve damage can also cause the stomach to empty too slowly, a condition referred to as gastroparesis. A case of severe gastroparesiscan lead to persistent nausea and vomiting, bloating, and loss of appetite. Gastroparesis can make blood glucose levels fluctuate widely as well, due to abnormal food digestion. A person experiencing these symptoms is in need of immediate medical advice and treatment.
The organs most often affected by autonomic neuropathy are those that control urination and sexual functioning. Nerve damage can prevent the bladder from emptying completely. The sexual response in men and women can gradually decrease, although the sex drive is unchanged. A man may be unable to have erections or may reach sexual climax without ejaculating normally. A woman may have difficulty with lubrication, arousal, or orgasm.
3. Proximal neuropathy causes pain in the thighs, hips, or buttocks and leads to weakness in the legs.It is usually initially experienced with pain in either the thighs, hips, buttocks, or legs, usually on one side of the body. It is also experienced in older people. It causes weakness in the legs, and manifests itself as an inability to go from a sitting to a standing position without help. In this case treatment for weakness or pain is usually needed. The length of the recovery period will vary depending upon the severity and type of damage to the nerves.
4. Focal neuropathy results in the sudden weakness of one nerve, or a group of nerves, causing muscle weakness or pain. Any nerve in the body may be affected. Focal neuropathy has been found to cause:
a) Inability to focus the eye
b) Double vision
c) Aching behind one eye
d) Paralysis on one side of the face (known as Bell’s palsy)
e) Severe pain in the lower back or pelvis
f) Pain in the front of a thigh
g) Pain in the chest, stomach, or flank, etc
By and large, like most complications of diabetes, it is the patients with severe diabetes and uncontrolled blood sugars and those with diabetes of long duration, who tend to get more complications than others. However there is a tremendous variability and sometimes patients may even develop a neuropathy before their diabetes has actually been discovered. Other patients will go many, many years with diabetes and not develop neuropathy.

Acupuncture therapy is one of the most effective treatments of pain and other conditions caused by diabetic nerve damage and free from the side effects that normally accompany drug therapy.
Diabetes treatment and management with acupuncture therapy is very effective.
Our experience at Meridian Specialist Medical Centre is that stimulation of the endocrine points by acupuncture needling using both body and auricular points, as well as an indicated homeopathic medicine (simillimum) used for homeopuncture has been found to restore the body’s own ability to control blood glucose levels.
Acupuncture is known to have effects on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis. Consequently, these links make it understandable how acupuncture therapy is quite effective for managing endocrine disorders in general and diabetes in particular. The main effect is the restoration of normal pancreative function and restoring the functionality of the insulin receptors, through the homeostatic (regulatory) action of acupuncture needling.
Results seem to vary according to the age of the patient, duration of the disease, severity of the disease, level of blood sugar control, compliance with our prescription for exercise, diet change and rest.
Whenever these are followed accordingly, blood sugar levels improve in 2 – 4 months while normal pancreatic function and insulin action are restored (i.e. blood sugar normalizes) in 4 – 6 months, with few exceptions reaching 8 months, or slightly higher.
Please note that the patient’s hypoglycemic drugs should not be stopped in a rush thinking they have a cure when improvement just starts. Those individuals who are taking oral hypoglycemic drugs should consult with their doctor to properly and gradually reduce the dosage of the drug when they begin to experience the effects of acupuncture treatment. But do not discontinue the drugs without consulting your doctor.

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