What do you know about ethanol? Well, at the gas station, we’re told that the gas we’re pumping into our car contains it. Believe it or not, it’s also something we put into our bodies on a regular basis if we’re not teetotalers.
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, is one of the main ingredients in wine, beer, and spirits. As such, ethanol can be considered one of the most addictive substances found in modern culture. In the U.S. alone, alcohol addiction is a problem for more than 5 million women and almost 10 million men, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Having a beer or glass of wine on occasion isn’t toxic to your body. But alcohol abuse over a long period of time can cause some serious consequences – even for your feet. Because April is Alcohol Awareness Month, all of us at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland want to shed some light on this particular danger.
The problem: Alcoholic Neuropathy
Too much alcohol damages the nerves in your feet, your hands, and other parts of the body. What that means is that over time, you lose your ability to feel. Your feet are numb and you can’t perceive injuries such as cuts and scrapes. Feet are more easily burned by hot pavement, sand, or water – because the nerves aren’t up to the job of feeling changes in temperature.
Some other effects of alcoholic neuropathy on your feet include tingling, burning, weakness, and pain.
Alcoholic neuropathy is compounded by the fact that people who abuse alcohol aren’t necessarily getting the right foods in their diet. A lack of certain vitamins and minerals only makes the problem worse.
The solution: Getting help
The first step to preventing or treating alcoholic neuropathy is to stop abusing alcohol. Our podiatrists, Dr. Craig B. Frey and Dr. Megan L. Oltmann, can help lead you to the proper resources, so don’t hesitate to contact us.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms that point to neuropathy, come see us at our office in Solon, Ohio for a complete foot evaluation. We have treatments available for neuropathy, and it’s important to know this: if not treated, the damage to your nerves can become permanent.
Make an appointment online or give us a call at (440) 903-1041.