Device helps woman cope with diabetes

‘This is something that I would recommend to anyone if they are dealing with the same problems I had with my neuropathy’
Approximately 34 million Americans suffer from diabetes.  As the prevalence of the disease...
Approximately 34 million Americans suffer from diabetes. As the prevalence of the disease rises, so, too, does the number of people who suffer from diabetic neuropathy.(Humberto Giles-Sanchez)
Published: Aug. 27, 2022 at 3:41 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Approximately 34 million Americans suffer from diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and as the prevalence of the disease rises, so, too, does the number of people who suffer from diabetic neuropathy.

According to the Mayo Clinic, diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur due to having diabetes, especially in the legs and feet. The damage causes pain, numbness, and the neuropathy can also cause problems with the digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels and heart.

Anne Powe, 60, who lives in South Dakota, has been living with diabetic neuropathy for about eight years. She describes it as always having sharp needles in her feet that won’t let her walk or stand comfortably.

“You feel sluggish and you may be tired all the time. Your feet are really killing you; they tell you to get diabetic shoes and stuff, but that doesn’t help. I had to get on medication and the medication didn’t help as well as I wanted it to,” said Powe. “The neuropathy in my feet was really bad, it felt like I had had pins and needles going into the bottom of my feet.”

After years of trying different medications, her doctor recommended a new treatment that promised to make the pain go away.

The treatment developed by Nevro has an 80% effectivity rate in taking away pain compared to the 30% that usual diabetic medication offers.

According to Dr. Lance Doeden, an M.D. at Rapid City Medical Center South, the Nervo device works by spinal stimulation. It sends energy through the spinal cord and blocks pain sensations from wherever you’re trying to target from reaching the brain.

“Initially, the inhibitory nerves are excited more than the excitatory nerves and so the difference in excitation between the nerves is what causes pain relief. So, if you’re simulating inhibitory nerves, it is telling the spinal cords to stop sending pain signals,” explained Doeden.

Powe, tired of dealing with her neuropathy, decided to give the treatment a try and had the HFX device implanted to see if it would help her cope with the pain she had endured. She said that after only a couple of weeks, she started to see a significant difference. The pain that had felt like sharp needles in her feet lessened and she said she felt like her life had gone back to normal.

“It’s easier to take a shower. It’s easier to actually walk. I can sit now, and my feet don’t get hot. I don’t have the pins and needles anymore. So, I feel a lot better,” said Powe. “This is something that I would recommend to anyone if they are dealing with the same problems I had with my neuropathy.”

She hopes that as her treatment continues the pain she continues to have will also go away.

You can learn more about the treatment at www.hfxforpdn.com.