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How Do Temperatures and Weather Affect Peripheral Neuropathy?

Tennessee might not be known for extreme temperatures, but we do have our fair share of hot and cold swings. For the millions of people who have peripheral neuropathy, mainly due to diabetes, temperatures can have an impact on symptom severity.

Our team at Neuhaus Foot and Ankle specializes in diabetic foot and peripheral neuropathy care, and we believe that education is an excellent first line of defense when managing this potentially painful condition.

In this blog, we will look at how weather and temperatures can affect your neuropathy and how to prevent symptoms from flaring or further problems from developing.

Cold weather and your peripheral neuropathy

Since we’re still in the middle of winter, let’s start with how cold temperatures can affect peripheral neuropathy.

Of the more than 38 million Americans with diabetes, nerve damage in the feet is a significant risk. It affects as many as half of people with this chronic disease.

The reason your feet are at risk when you have diabetes is that your blood vessels have to fight distance and gravity to make the rounds in these appendages. So, when you have diabetes, high levels of glucose in your blood can damage peripheral nerves and blood vessels, which can lead to foot wounds that don’t heal well because of compromised circulation.

This nerve damage can lead to pain, as well as numbness and tingling, and these symptoms can flare up when your feet are cold. When it’s freezing outside, your blood flow slows. This reduced circulation, combined with an already compromised blood flow, can intensify your peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

Hot and humid weather and your peripheral neuropathy

Just beyond winter are those hot and humid days our state is known for. This weather is also problematic for people with peripheral neuropathy. For example, if you experience burning pain in your feet, that symptom might amplify when your feet are hot and sticky.

A study in the United Kingdom found that people with chronic pain are 20% more likely to have painful flare-ups on humid and windy days.

Another reason why hot and humid days can be problematic for people with peripheral neuropathy is because sweaty socks soften the skin on your feet, leaving them more vulnerable to wounds and ulcers.

Managing weather with peripheral neuropathy

To avoid weather-related neuropathy complications, we suggest that you:

With a few adjustments, you can take weather out of your peripheral neuropathy equation and focus on halting the progression and complications of the nerve damage.

For more suggestions on managing your neuropathy, please contact one of our 13 locations in Tennessee to schedule an appointment with one of our diabetic foot specialists.

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