The arrival of fall brings a change in temperature, schedule, and pace. As schools reopen and morning commutes get busier, the season also brings the time-honored tradition of football to homes across the United States.
As football season gets underway, caregivers of familial amyloid polyneuropathy patients must be aware of the potential risks that watching the game may present to those who suffer from peripheral neuropathy symptoms.
Football season is an excellent time for friends and family to get together and bond. Whether it’s in front of a television, tailgating in a stadium parking lot, or at the game itself, football games offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy delicious food and relax in good company. However, caregivers should remain vigilant to protect their patient from overexposure and overconsumption.
Following are some potential risks for caregivers of neuropathy patients to be aware of during football season.
Game day menus
Food is a big part of the football-watching experience. Unfortunately, many popular foods fall into the junk food category, which pose health risks to neuropathy patients. Pizza, processed meats, buffalo wings, potato chips, and nachos are all high in salt content and can contribute to high blood pressure.
High blood pressure can affect circulation, so caregivers must be mindful of the menu during game time. A healthier spread featuring fruits, vegetables, and lean protein is a much better option for those with peripheral neuropathy. For caregivers and patients who are attending a game, a packed lunch is a good idea.
Many football fans enjoy a beer while watching the game. However, caregivers and patients should be careful, as it’s easy to lose track of how much alcohol they’ve had. Caregivers should be aware that alcohol consumption might worsen the numbness and tingling experienced by those with peripheral neuropathy. When we watch football games with my mother-in-law, we abstain from drinking alcohol so that she won’t feel left out.
Keep temperatures moderate
As peripheral neuropathy involves numbness of the hands and feet, caregivers should ensure that the room temperature is not too cold. Warm socks and gloves may provide extra comfort.
If the room is too warm, a patient may experience discomfort. But patients with severe numbness may be unaware of their level of discomfort in hotter temperatures and could risk further skin irritation.
Be mindful of the environment
Patients with severe peripheral symptoms should avoid areas with heavy foot traffic. When watching a game at home, ensure that patients have sufficient space. If the patient is watching a football game at the stadium, caregivers should be mindful of the risks associated with moving around. These risks may include passersby unknowingly touching a sensitive area of the patient’s feet.
Since my mother-in-law is prone to pain in her hands and feet, we avoid outings in venues with large crowds. If we do attend a sporting event at a stadium, we call ahead to ensure that she will have ample space.
Note: FAP News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of FAP News Today or its parent compay, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.