You are curled up beside the fire with a cup of tea. You have your cozy socks and slippers on and are snuggled up in a warm throw blanket. Everything is so perfect. But wait, why do your feet feel so cold? That doesn’t make any sense, they should feel toasty and warm. You take off your slippers and socks and your tootsies are incredibly warm to touch but they still feel cold. Has something like this ever happened to you?
It is common for most people to experience cold feet from time to time. However, if your feet are consistently cold, despite the weather or the fact that you have socks on, it could be a sign you are suffering from the early stages of neuropathy. This is especially true if your feet are not cold to touch but still feel cold. The word neuropathy simply means nerve disease or damage.
What are peripheral nerves?
There are two parts in the nervous system: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The nerves within the peripheral system are responsible for transmitting messages between the central nervous system and the brain and spinal cord along and the rest of your body.
The nerves have the vital job of regulating some functions within the body, including voluntary muscle movement, involuntary organ activity and perception of stimuli.
What is peripheral neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy occurs when the nerves in the peripheral system ( outside of the brain and spinal cord) become damaged. This condition impacts the nerves in the extremities including toes, feet, legs, hands, and arms.
How does neuropathy make my feet cold?
Having diabetes increases your risk of developing neuropathy. In fact, upwards of 70% of diabetics will experience some form or another or neuropathy during their illness. Sensory nerve damage can cause symptoms including decreased sensation and the inability to feel temperature. Simply put, your feet may feel cold because of the damaged nerve fibers, even though it may seem like they should be warm.
What should I do?
Unfortunately, many people wait to be diagnosed with diabetes until they start to experience some form of diabetic neuropathy. So, in this case, neuropathy may be a warning sign that you are diabetic, and you need to seek medical attention. If you are already diabetic and are experiencing neuropathy, there are some things that you can do to alleviate the discomfort. Depending on how far along the condition has progressed, you may even be able to reverse it.
Of course, if you are a Type 2 diabetic, the best thing would be to change your diet and lifestyle so that you no longer have a blood glucose problem. Many people may not know it, but Type 2 diabetes is not a life sentence. With a proper diet and lifestyle, you can experience a complete and total healing from this condition.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, there are a few things you can do to help alleviate the discomfort:
- Be sure to check your feet daily, tops, bottoms, and in between your toes. If you have a loss of sensation, you may not know if your feet have been damaged.
- Spend a little more for high-quality shoes that fit.
- Wash your feet daily in warm water – you can add a little Epsom salt for a soothing foot soak. Be sure to dry thoroughly.
- Don’t go barefoot. Closed toe shoes with socks are best.
- Check back with your doctor if you develop the feelings of pins and needles or lose the sensation in your feet.
- Keep your toenails trimmed.
Most of all, don’t ignore your body and the signs it may be giving you. Excessive damage from neuropathy can be avoided, but only if you stay in touch with how you feel.