Question: My father was told he has neuropathy, and all I know about it is that it has something to do with the nerves. I'd like to be helpful, but I need more information.
Answer: Neuropathy may affect the nerves in the arms, hands, feet, legs and eyes, as well as most of the major body organs. Although the exact cause of the condition is not known, the patient's metabolism (the manner in which the body uses food as energy) and changes in blood vessels have been implicated in its development.
The symptoms of neuropathy depend on the part of the body affected, and may range from mild to disabling. They may be experienced as a tingling sensation or as a numbness and loss of feeling. If the digestive tract is affected, the patient may have diarrhea or nausea, or feel full even if he or she hasn't had anything to eat.
If the bladder is affected, the patient may retain urine for hours without experiencing any pressure or may have difficulty in voiding. If the sex organs are affected, a man may experience impotence and a woman may be unable to reach orgasm. If the feet are affected, the muscles may waste away.
Neuropathy is one of the most common complications of diabetes.
Q: A friend of mine has told me about something called zebra glasses that are supposed to cure headaches. Would you explain what they are, and do you recommend them?
A: I believe you are referring to Dzidra eyeglasses, which are being used experimentally in the treatment of tension headaches. A patient using these eyeglasses sits in a quiet room for five minutes with the lights on. Why these eyeglasses have the effect they do is not clear.
In one study in which Dzidra eyeglasses were used, 19 of 21 patients with tension headaches reported relief. As I noted, however, use of these glasses is still experimental; they are not available commercially.