If you’ve been experiencing tingling, numbness, pins and needles, or burning pain in your feet, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, you’re part of a growing number of Americans.
New research is suggesting that “small fiber neuropathy” is on the rise, leading to a more significant number of Americans experiencing symptoms in their feet.
Although the reason for the uptick is yet to be fully understood, it’s likely to have something to do with diabetes and obesity epidemics.
Small fiber neuropathy occurs when small fibers of the peripheral nervous system become damaged. Sometimes it can lead to large fiber neuropathy, which can cause weakness, trouble balancing, and poor coordination.
Diabetes and obesity may contribute to the condition by limiting circulation and leading to high levels of inflammation and high levels of triglycerides. The symptoms are likely best treated by treating the underlying condition.
The research found that small fiber neuropathy occurs in slightly more than 13 out of 100,000 people, and the rate increased over the six-year study period. Sufferers were also more likely to have insomnia or take opioids for pain relief.
Sufferers were also more likely to be obese. Fifty percent of the people with small fiber neuropathy had diabetes, compared to 22 percent without the metabolic condition. They were also more likely to have a heart attack.
Symptoms of small fiber neuropathy can be treated with medication and topical creams, but getting to the root cause – weight loss and improved glucose metabolism – are the preferred methods.
Trying to boost activity and eat a diet with less processed foods are good starting points and are proven to promote weight loss and better glucose metabolism. When chronic issues are addressed, peripheral symptoms can be eased or eliminated.