Avoidable accidents and negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States. To emphasize, there are some ways we can prevent such accidents, falls, and keep loved ones safe. Peripheral neuropathy refers to the condition that arises due to a damage to the peripheral nerves leading to the malfunctioning of the peripheral nervous system. WinSanTor, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of treatments for peripheral neuropathies. We believe in creating a solution that works and brings relief to millions that are struggling with this disease.
There are over 100 different types of peripheral neuropathy that have been identified so far and the symptoms vary from patient to patient. Moreover, according to a report by the American Geriatrics Association, about 50% of seniors living at home suffer from chronic pain. Neuropathy and other conditions, such as arthritis, muscular, and circulatory conditions, are the common causes of such persistent pain. In such cases, assistive devices and mechanical aids can help patients with chronic pain live well and independently. Here are five devices to help you take care of yourself and stay safe:
Handrails around living spaces and stairwells help provide balance. Elders with neuropathy often can experience numbness or pain in their extremities, making them extremely prone to falls. As a result hand railing or grab bars in washrooms provides the necessary grip to prevent such falls on slippery or wet floors. Additionally, long bath tools with a long handle— such as bath brushes—can also help patients take showers easily.
Mechanical crutches or wheelchairs can help those suffering with peripheral neuropathy move from one place to another with ease and comfort. Not only do they help weak muscles, they may also reduce pain. Additionally, they reduce the strain on your feet and provide a good grip for a balanced gait. When using such devices, make sure to consult your physician for recommendations on a device best suited for you. Small adjustments like the height of the cane and wheelchair ensures you do not have to lean over much.
With the increase in automation in our living spaces, electronic devices with sensors can help those with peripheral neuropathy. Such devices can include automated soap dispensers, electronic toothbrushes and razors. Neuropathy patients have damaged nerve endings which can make them more sensitive to temperature changes. A shower temperature thermometer can help identify the accurate reading and enables a more comfortable shower. Chronic pain can also weaken muscles. Automatic dispensers (soap, lotion, etc.) can help reduce pain and lessen the impact of muscle weakness.
Diabetic neuropathy remains the most common type of neuropathy. Individuals suffering from diabetes have to deal with frequent fluctuations in their blood sugar levels and hence need to regularly check their blood pressure and sugar levels. Medical technology devices, such as a glucometer, thermometer and a sphygmomanometer (blood pressure cuffs), enable easy monitoring 24/7. Maintaining the blood glucose levels within the recommended limits helps prevent neuropathy from getting worse.
Keeping feet covered with shoes at all times can prevent many unwanted falls and accidents. Patients with neuropathy can suffer from a loss of sensation to various stimuli. Hence smaller cuts can go unnoticed and later develop into a complexity. Additionally, compressed socks, velcro attachments on shoes and orthopedic shoes can help improve overall gait and improve balance. Try having a foot care routine and use mirrors to examine smaller cuts or bruises at the end of each day. Make sure shoes are free of small sharp objects and also maintain a healthy length for your toenails.
We understand that living with neuropathy can be painful and frustrating, but small steps can go a long way. This June, let’s spread awareness about preventing avoidable accidents and falls.