Diabetes and Neuropathy

Neuropathy, often linked with diabetes, affects over 50% of diabetics in the U.S., a ratio higher than those who suffer from major diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's combined. Marked by nerve damage particularly in extremities, diabetic neuropathy manifests as pain, numbness, and motor function challenges, amongst other symptoms. Traditionally considered irreversible, a promising new treatment developed by Neurogenx showcases potential nerve regeneration, with significant symptomatic improvements in the majority of treated individuals. While medications currently manage symptoms rather than cure the condition, this novel therapy could herald a breakthrough in reversing neuropathy's effects. Dr. Rindlisbacher, with 24 years as a podiatrist, underscores the importance of diabetes control and holds hope for these advancements.

Diabetes and Neuropathy

Neuropathy is a condition where nerves malfunction due to damage. As a podiatrist, I see many patients with this problem.

Although there are various causes for neuropathy, diabetes is the most common. It is believed that spiking blood sugar levels, abnormal blood fat levels and low insulin levels caused by diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels that end up injuring the nerves.

Neuropathy and Diabetes Linked

It is estimated that over 50 percent of diabetics have some degree of neuropathy–that’s around 15 million people. This means about one in 20 Americans suffer from diabetic neuropathy–more than two times the number of people with Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis combined!

Nerve damage in the feet, legs, hands, or arms is known as peripheral neuropathy. This is one of the most common complications of diabetes. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include a heavy feeling, numbness, tingling, weakness, burning, a cold feeling, hypersensitivity and even severe chronic pain. As neuropathy worsens, it can affect balance and the ability to walk, drive and sleep.

As a doctor, I was taught just like most others were, that there is no cure for neuropathy. We learned that the best we could hope for was to stop or slow down its progression. We were told that once nerve damage occurred, it could not be reversed.

An exciting new treatment may prove this prognosis to be wrong. Neurogenx has developed a treatment program where the nerves are electrically stimulated over a period of time, and the results appear promising. Four out of five people notice a significant improvement in their neuropathy symptoms. In some cases, people will feel their feet again, regain balance, get off their medications, sleep and even dance again. You learn more information about this treatment on the computer at www.neurogenx.com/anchorage. As a doctor, one of the most impressive aspects I’ve found about the Neurogenx Treatment comes from the medical tests they have done on patients. Punch biopsies of patients’ nerve tissue, taken before and after treatment, have found actual nerve regrowth.

Nearly all of my patients suffering from diabetic peripheral neuropathy take medications that help them live with and tolerate pain and other symptoms. While very helpful with coping, unfortunately, these medications do not solve, stop, or reverse the problem. Good diabetic control and exercise may help stop or slow down its progression, however. Hopefully, with the new advancements in this area, we will have effective ways of reversing the effects of neuropathy as well.

Dr. Rindlisbacher, commonly known as “Dr. Mark,” has been a podiatrist working in Anchorage for 24 years.