Medical IDs for Neuropathy
The confidence to live with Neuropathy
Scientists have identified more than 100 different types of neuropathies. Often called peripheral neuropathy, each type of neuropathy has its own symptoms and medical prognosis. Many of these symptoms are similar to those of other disorders. For all of these reasons, neuropathy is often misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and poorly treated.
This is why people living with the condition neuropathy should wear MedicAlert medical IDs for neuropathy.
How MedicAlert protects those living with neuropathy
One thing you shouldn’t worry about is what could happen if there’s an emergency. MedicAlert’s protection plans offer benefits that extend beyond the ID, providing safety and peace of mind for people living with neuropathy, their families and caregivers.
24/7 Emergency Response
Our team provides first responders the information they need to provide fast, accurate care.
Digital Health Profile
All your vital information, all in one place for you and your caregiver.
Emergency Contact Notification
In an emergency, we connect families so that no one is alone in a crisis.
Share the information that’s important to your care, such as use of rescue medications or contraindication for tests like MRIs.
Pair a medical ID for neuropathy with the protection plan that’s right for you.
What exactly is neuropathy?
It is estimated that 20 to 30 million people in the U.S. are living with neuropathy. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders (NINDS) states that this figure could be much higher, as not all people with symptoms of neuropathy are tested for the disease and today’s tests do not look for all forms of neuropathy.
Neuropathy is a form of nerve damage brought on by conditions such as diabetes and cancer, injuries, chemotherapy, medications, toxins, autoimmune disorders, and more. The condition affects the peripheral nerves, which are the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. These nerves form the communication network between the central nervous system (CNS) and the body parts.
When nerve communication is disrupted it can cause pain, twitching, cramps, muscle weakness, and loss of sensation or numbness in different parts of the body, but most commonly in the hands, legs, and feet. Neuropathy symptoms can range from mild to severe and the condition can present itself at any time. While neuropathy can affect people of all ages, it’s most common in people over 50.
As mentioned, there are more than 100 different types of neuropathies, each with its own symptoms and prognosis. Neuropathies can be acquired or hereditary, and they can affect one (mononeuropathy), two or a few (multiple neuropathy), or many (polyneuropathy) nerves. Polyneuropathy is the most common neuropathy and mononeuropathy is usually the result of repeated stress or injury. Multiple neuropathy can affect many different parts of the body.
Many neuropathies are defined by their underlying cause. The most common is diabetic neuropathy, which affects a large percentage of people living with diabetes. Other examples include:
- Brachial plexus injury
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
- Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy
- Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP)
- Cubital tunnel syndrome
- Exposure to toxins
- Guillain-Barré syndrome
- Hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies
- HIV-related neuropathy
- Hormone imbalances
- Kidney and liver failure
- Thoracic outlet syndrome
- Vasculitic neuropathy
What causes neuropathy?
The most common cause of neuropathy is diabetes. Neuropathy can also be caused by any number conditions from autoimmune disorders to kidney and liver failure. Injuries, vascular disorders, antibiotics, chemotherapy, abnormal levels of vitamins E, B1, B6, and B12, inherited disorders, and even alcoholism can cause neuropathy. According to Cleveland Clinic, some cases of neuropathy have no known cause.
What to engrave on your MedicAlert medical ID for neuropathy:
MedicAlert offers free custom engraving on all our neuropathy bracelets and medical ID products. Engravings on medical IDs for neuropathy should include any critical medical information that can protect and save lives in an accident or medical emergency, for example:
- Designated physician and emergency contact information
- Any additional medical information that needs to be communicated to first responders
Sample engraving. Consult our team if you need help engraving your medical ID for neuropathy.
What are the symptoms and complications of neuropathy?
Symptoms of neuropathy can vary greatly by type. People living with neuropathy may experience some of the following symptoms at varying levels of intensity and duration:
- A feeling that you’re wearing socks or gloves when you’re not
- Burning, stabbing, freezing, or tingling pain
- Curled toes (hammer toes)
- Difficulty holding things
- Difficulty walking, running, or controlling arm movements
- Foot dragging, also called foot drop
- Muscle weakness, especially in legs, feet, arms, or hands
- Numbness or loss of sensation
- Trouble with balance and coordination
- Unusual or increased sensation, or extreme sensitivity to touch
- Unusually high arches
In an emergency, symptoms of neuropathy may resemble other conditions to first responders and even ER doctors. This is why you should wear a MedicAlert ID.
A MedicAlert ID lets first responders and ER doctors know that you are living with neuropathy. This crucial information can play an important part in helping first responders and ER doctors identify and deliver the fastest, safest, and most accurate treatment in an emergency. Simply put, a MedicAlert medical ID for neuropathy can help save your life.
How do you diagnose neuropathy?
Because of the complex array of symptoms and types of neuropathies, neuropathy can be difficult to diagnose. This can lead to misdiagnosis and ineffective treatment. To help ensure an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will assess your medical and family history, perform a physical exam, study your symptoms, and perform a neurological exam.
Your doctor may also order blood tests, and imaging tests such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Electrodiagnostic (EDX) tests may also be used to help determine exactly where the nerve damage is located. Tissue biopsies and genetic, muscle strength, vibration, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) or spinal tap tests may also be administered. In some cases, your doctor may order a QSART test, which measures the body’s ability to sweat.
How do you treat, manage, and live with neuropathy?
There is no one single treatment for neuropathy. Treatment plans will vary by individual and any underlying medical condition or conditions. Some neuropathy cases can be treated easily, while some can even be cured. In general, treatment begins by identifying any underlying conditions or infections.
In general, medications that control pain by altering pain signaling pathways within the CNS and peripheral nervous system (PNS) are prescribed. Examples include:
- Antidepressants such as duloxetine or nortripyline
- Antiseizure medications such as gabapentin (brand names Neurontin and Gralise) and pregabalin (Lyrica)
- Over-the-counter (OTC) topical patches and creams containing capsaicin (Capsin, Zostrix) or lidocaine (Lidoderm, Xylocaine)
It is important to note that due to limited evidence of their usefulness in treating neuropathy, narcotic medications are not usually prescribed.
In addition to medication therapy, physical and occupational therapy can provide symptom relief. Treating with transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy can be beneficial as well. TENS uses mild electrical currents to jumpstart the body’s own natural painkillers.
Other ways to manage neuropathy include:
- Complementary treatments such as acupuncture, yoga, and psychotherapy.
- Immune suppressing or immune modulating treatments.
- Mechanical aids such as braces and splints.
- Surgery for people living with carpal tunnel syndrome and nerve entrapment disorders.
- Wearing compression garments.
Proper nutrition and adopting healthy habits can also make living with neuropathy easier. Examples include:
- Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals
- Exercising to improve muscle strength
- Limiting or eliminating alcohol
- Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight
- Quitting smoking
How medical IDs for neuropathy combined with MedicAlert Membership provide peace of mind
A MedicAlert ID and protection plan can also play an important role in managing your health, while keeping you safe. This is especially true in a medical emergency. A MedicAlert ID and protection plan can be there for you if you are unable to communicate critical information about your condition to first responders, ER doctors, and hospital staff in an emergency.
Our Advantage Plus protection plan for neuropathy has you covered in emergency situations and even during your regular doctor visits.
Advantage Plus provides:
- 24/7 emergency response team to relay vital information to first responders, ensuring accurate care
- Designated physician and emergency contact notification
- Digital health profile of all medications, mechanical devices, and other conditions – all in one place
- Information important to your care such as drug interactions
- Personal document storage for information, such as treatment plans and any mechanical devices
- Printable detailed profile for your medical appointments