New research suggests that the number of people who experience pins and needles, numbness, and burning pain in their feet and toes seems to be rising.
It also suggested that some of these people may be exposed to a higher risk of heart problems.
It is not fully understood why there has been an increase in ‘small fiber neuropathy’ yet.
A Common Condition May Be The Cause For The Burning In Your Feet
Dr. Christopher Klein, the study author, explained that this may be happening due to diabetes and obesity epidemic that is currently going on. Both of these conditions raise the risk for small fiber neuropathy.
Klein said that something about small fiber neuropathy is diabolic as it is very strongly correlated to heart disease and heart attacks.
When the small fibers of the peripheral nervous system become damaged, small fiber neuropathy occurs. This is generally caused by a preexisting condition like diabetes.
Sometimes, this can progress into large fiber neuropathy. This condition results in balance issues, weakness, and a lack of coordination.
Klein said that even though the pain is bad, people can take solace with the good news that for a majority of people, the average worsening of the condition every year was minute and they are not at risk of developing any major disabilities.
Even though these statistics are true for the most part, some people who have this condition develop heart problems.
Dr. Christopher is a professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic.
He said that there is likely more to the story even though diabetes does increase the risk of a heart attack.
Triglycerides are dangerous blood fats that increase the risks to the heart in these people.
An underlying inflammation could also cause these issues.
The medical records of 94 people with the condition and 282 people without the condition were compared by the researchers for the study.
In order to learn as much as they could, these people were followed by the investigators.
They wanted to see how neuropathy worked and how it progressed.
In 13.3 out of every 100,000 people, small fiber neuropathy occurs.
During the period of the study, the rate increased.
It was also found that in order to relieve their burning pain, these people were much more likely to take opioids and have insomnia.
Compared to their counterparts who do not have the condition, these people who had small fiber neuropathy were also more likely to be more obese.
The findings showed that about 50% of people who had neuropathy also had diabetes, compared to 22% of those who did not have it.
The study also found that heart attacks were more likely in people who have this nerve condition.
During the period of the study, almost 50% of people who had small fiber neuropathy also had a heart attack.
Klein said that some of these folks may need more aggressive screening for any heart problems considering this risk.
In Neurology, the study was published on Oct. 27.
Dr. Brian Callaghan said that when compared to 10 years ago, doctors at present are much more aware of this condition. He gave special mention to neurologists.
He is an associate professor of neurology at the University of Michigan.
He also co-wrote an editorial that accompanied the new study.
He said that doctors still forget to ask about these symptoms very often.
He added that patients should ideally take an active role in making their doctors aware.
Treating the condition if it is linked to diabetes or obesity can make a huge difference in the overall health and well-being of the person. Medications, topical and behavioral interventions are used as treatments for pain.
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