Nerve aging or neuropathy is a condition characterized by the damage in the protective covering (myelin sheaths) of the nerves, in particular the peripheral kinds which are nerves located outside the brain and spinal cord. It is very common as a person ages because of the natural degeneration of the nerves and myelin sheaths. However, neuropathy may also be brought about by other conditions such as diabetes, autoimmune diseases and even alcoholism.
Due to the destruction of the nerve cells’ protective covering, the conduction of electrical impulse of the nerves is affected. It’s for this reason why one of the symptoms of neuropathy is numbness in the hands and feet which may eventually spread to the arms and legs. It is not unlikely for the sufferer of nerve aging to also feel tingling, burning and/or sharp sensations in the affected areas. Muscle weakness and lack of coordination are common symptoms too.
There are several different risk factors of neuropathy. Aging is one of them, and that is why the condition is very common among the elderly. Repetitive motion or repeated use of the hands and feet may also increase your likelihood of developing the problem. Other risk factors include diabetes, deficiency in B-vitamins, excessive alcohol consumption, diseases of the thyroid, kidneys and liver, autoimmune diseases, and certain infections such as hepatitis C and HIV.
Managing nerve aging is important as it may cause a handful of complications. Since sensation in the affected areas can be greatly diminished, someone with neuropathy tends to become more susceptible to burns and other skin traumas. It is possible for the skin to get injured without the individual knowing it, thus making him or her prone to infections.
Pain relievers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, antidepressants and anti-seizure medications are some of the medical treatments available for nerve aging. Certain therapies are around too. One of them is the so-called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS. Physical therapy is advised as well. In cases wherein the nerve damage is brought about pressure applied by growths such as tumors, surgery may be warranted.
It’s also important for any underlying cause like diabetes or infection to be treated as well. Certain natural remedies for nerve aging are around, and some of them are:
This very popular hot spice may be beneficial for someone bugged by nerve aging. A substance in cayenne pepper called capsaicin is what makes this home remedy work for the condition as it helps relieve pain associated with neuropathy. Cayenne pepper may be added liberally to foods, or lotions or creams with the spice may be applied on the affected areas.
• Magnesium – Studies have shown that those with neuropathy experienced worsening due to deficiency in magnesium, a mineral that supports nerve health. Aside from taking magnesium supplements, it’s a good idea to include magnesium-rich foods in the diet such as sea foods, dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes.
• B-vitamins – In order to enjoy properly functioning nerves, it’s important to supply the body with sufficient amounts of B-vitamins. Supplements containing B-vitamins are readily available at pharmacies and health food stores. Foods rich in these nutrients include meat, milk, dairy products and dark green leafy vegetables.
• Healthy fats – A diet with good amounts of healthy fats can be beneficial for someone with nerve aging. Fish, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils are good sources of healthy fats that promote optimal nerve health and functioning.
• Avoid processed and sugary foods – Chemicals in processed foods are known to have all sorts of negative effects on the nervous system, and that includes the peripheral nerves. Too much sugar is also bad for the nerves. It’s because of this exactly why diabetes is one of the risk factors of nerve damage.
• Light exercise – Experts say that a regular dose of light exercise is good for someone with nerve aging. That’s because it helps control blood sugar levels, promotes better blood circulation especially to the extremities, and slows down the degeneration of the peripheral nerves.