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Questions for Dr. Kennedy
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Posted by: Harold
Date: October 2, 2001 6:31 PM

I'm 70 years old and have numbness in the toes of both feet, been like that for 4 months and does not bother my walking. Then in the last month or so, the right ear and side of the face are getting the numbness. Like I slept on that side, which I don't. Feel OK otherwise.

RE: Numbness
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, M.D.
Date: October 3, 2001 8:02 AM

A diagnosis compatible with your description of symptoms is peripheral neuropathy. It literally means "nerve sickness outside the central nervous system." The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is loss, or partial loss, of blood supply to the nerve or nerves involved. Other possible causes are: nutritional deficiency (lack of vital nutrients such as B12 and/or folic acid) and also physical trauma to the nerve(s). Peripheral neuropathy is more common in diabetics and the symptom itself justifies a search for previously undetected diabetes. Whatever the cause, the nerve(s) are incapacitated and cannot transmit their information to the brain. The danger is that damage may be done in an area which has no feeling and the brain is not informed to take action to limit the damage. One would quickly withdraw from a hot stove for example, if one can feel the hot stove. If not, the burn may be severe rather than minor. Treatment involves replacing what is missing, if that is possible. In the case of trauma, that may be nothing more than time required for healing to occur. Severed peripheral nerves regenerate at the rate of one centimeter per month so the time required will depend on how far away from the sensory end of the nerve the injury occurred. In the case of nutritional deficiency, replacement of nutrients is vital. In the case of loss of circulation, restoration of circulation is quite important. If the cause involves the presence of toxic substances such as mercury or lead, chelating these toxic heavy metals out is necessary. If diabetes is present, getting control of that process is important to the overall therapeutic outcome. As you can see, proper diagnosis is critically important to applying proper therapy. There is no one therapy which should be applied until a causative diagnosis is established or at least strongly suspected for good reasons.

RE: Numbness
Posted by: Harold
Date: October 5, 2001 10:19 PM

Thanks for the fast reply. My doctor thought in might be lead, so he gave me a 24 hour urine test and it turned out normal. I don't have diabetes. I'm a vegatarian and may be lacking B12 or Folic Acid, although I take multivitamins. You mentioned chelation, this all started after taking EDTA for about 3 weeks, trying to stay healthy.. I stopped as it made me feel light headed. I think I'll try the B12 and Folic acid, thanks.

RE: Numbness
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, M.D.
Date: October 5, 2001 10:29 PM

It is important that any test for heavy metals be a "challenge test." That is to say a chelating agent is given before the test is taken. The reason for this is that heavy metals reside inside cells so that unless something is done to bring them out to be counted, an ordinary blood or urine test will not reveal their presence.

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