Numbness, tingling, or burning in the legs, feet, arms or hands can be a sign of damaged nerves, a condition known as neuropathy. Dr. David Glass, a vein surgeon and director of the New York Vein Center, explains how to optimize circulation and cut risk factors for nerve damage.
Epoch Times: What is the relationship between nerve damage and poor circulation?
Dr. David Glass: Poor circulation can cause peripheral neuropathy [damage to the nerves outside the brain and spine] only after a very advanced disease has set in.
Diabetics are most at risk for this condition because increased levels of glucose can damage the nerves.
Other causes include trauma from a broken bone or heavy use of alcohol.
Epoch Times: What causes neuropathy?
Dr. Glass: The most common is diabetic neuropathy due to damage of nerve structure by high glucose levels in tissues.
Other related conditions are arthritis and lupus, HIV, vitamin B12 deficiency, heavy metal toxicity (that is, lead), and poor blood flow to legs. Other causes include having to heal broken bones, heavy alcohol use, chemotherapy drugs, frostbite, and pressure from a tight cast or braces [on your limbs].
Epoch Times: Are there any misconceptions about neuropathy?
Dr. Glass: One common mistake is to automatically associate neuropathy with pain. In actuality, neuropathy feels different for everyone depending on what is causing the condition in your body. It does cause pain for many people, but others feel numbness, tingling, or pinching in their bodies.
Epoch Times: Are there any lifestyle or non-medical ways to prevent neuropathy and improve circulation?
Dr. Glass: The best way to prevent neuropathy is to make sure you’re properly tending to any medical conditions that put you at risk. If you’re diabetic, make sure you’re maintaining normal blood glucose levels. Everyone can of course benefit from a healthy diet and frequent exercise.
Epoch Times: What medical treatments are available?
Dr. Glass: Two treatments are Neurotin and Lyrica. Neurotin is an anti-epileptic or anti-convulsant medication that is more commonly used to treat seizures caused by epilepsy, but it also can be prescribed to treat different types of nerve pain.
Lyrica is the more popular of the two, as it is prescribed to treat neuropathic pain associated with diabetes.
Epoch Times: Do you have any other tips for optimizing our circulation?
Dr. Glass: Diet: Avoid high-carb or high-sodium diets, and make sure you’re getting enough fiber. Anything that causes you to be constipated can cause stress on your venous system.
Also, if you can handle eating spicy foods, they’re a great source of low-density lipoprotein, which helps move fats and cholesterol through your bloodstream and dissolve blood clots
Exercise: Even if you’re not quite in shape to run, make time to walk on a treadmill or go for a walk outside. If you have a desk job, make sure you’re getting up and stretching for five minutes, or taking a quick walk around the office so that you’re not sitting in one spot all day.
Dr. David Glass has offices in Brooklyn and Manhattan. NewYorkVeinCenter.org