Neuropathy

by Cathy
(Port Elizabeth)

Hi Dr B, not sure if you remember me. I was a patient of yours for about a year before I left Hilton to come and live in PE a year and a bit ago. I lost my thyroid to cancer in 2010 and now my endocrinologist is telling me that my autoimmune disease has found a new host in my nervous system an I have been diagnosed with neuropathy. My hands and feet have been tingling badly since July last year.

A neurologist did a conductivity test and told me then my symptoms were all in my head! I know I am not 'nuts' anyway they now want me to go onto anti depressants or epileptic meds. Neither are an option for me. I found a homeopath and we are doing the gluten free and vitamin route.

A chiro is still working on my lower back and hips which continue to bother me. Any more advice that you could give me? I miss our chats. Keep well.

Of course, I remember you Cathy! How could I forget.

This does sound unrelated to your spine, and also unrelated to your mental state. What you feel is what you feel.

The difference between signs and symptoms is that the former have some objective findings, like loss of a reflex, but symptoms are what you report. At this stage there are no physical findings, but that doesn't mean the tingling doesn't exist.

I would start with a series of vitamin B12 injections. It's only absorbed if there are adequate levels of a substance called intrinsic factor being produced by the lining of the stomach wall. There's an autoimmune disease that attacks these cells. Lack of vitamin B12 certainly could cause these symptoms.

In it's full blown state it would certainly be detected by a full blood work up; the condition is called pernicious anaemia. In mild or early cases there may be no sign of altered blood cells.

The diagnosis is made from a full blood count, and examination of the red blood cells; in this condition they are larger than normal. Has this been done?

Pernicious anemia incidently often occurs after thyroid problems. Read it up on Wikipedia.

This is a long shot, and may not reflect your problem at all. But talk to your doctor about it.

I'm afraid that's all I have to offer; with these sorts of bizarre symptoms, I always suggest going back to basics. Look critically at your diet and make sure you are getting the right sorts of fats which line the nerves. Plenty of olive oil and avocados, and low polyunsaturated fats like sunflower oil. No margarine. Type butter is back into google and see what comes up.

Then omega 3 from fatty fish and freshly ground flax seeds. Nuts too.

When last did you have three consecutive weeks holiday? Stress finds the weak point. Taking walks? Apple a day?

Let me know what comes of all this. I hope I've contributed something.

B

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