Hello and thank you for using JustAnswer Health
I'm sorry to hear of your husbands health decline. When there are multiple system issues like this, not only does it tell us there needs to be a comprehensive work up to determine if testosterone, vitamin D, thyroid hormones, etc. are out of balance, but it also often indicates that an individual may have gotten away from practicing the basic health measures that are needed for our bodies to function normally. Comprehensive evaluation is needed, but at the same time a comprehensive review of all the basic health measures are needed to determine what he can do to activate his bodies inherent strength and self healing mechanisms.
The peripheral neuropathy signals poor circulation. This is caused most often by build up of cholesterol, fats, or other substances. Restricted blood flow to the nerves, restricting oxygen and other nutrients, results in the nerves 'starving' or neuropathy. In your husbands case you mention also an episode of acute dehydration, which may have contributed. (What was going on when he became severely dehydrated? Does he monitor his fluid intake now?)
It is important that the testosterone issues be treated as well he be checked for vitamin D depletion, thyroid imbalance, and depression. Antidepressants, such as cymbalta could help his neuropathy pain as well as increase his motivation, energy levels, and decrease migraines. Has he tried taking antidepressants? If so, for how long and what kind, and if he stopped, what was the reason for stopping?
Besides medications though, he needs to be aware of the basic things are bodies need to function adequately. It is so very easy for all of us to forget the importance of these things, because of modern life. We no longer have the environment to signal us when it is time to go to bed and when it is time to wake up, for example. We no longer need to physically work to get our food every day. Yet still, our body's systems developed over the millennium to function best with sleep at night (our brain recharges and makes neurotransmitters when we sleep deeply) sunlight in the morning (vitamin D is manufactured with exposure to sunlight, but also it triggers wakefulness hormone release, DHEA, via the retina to the brain). It sounds basic and simple, but most of us, even many health care providers, forget how powerful these basic measures are in activating the brain and body's own healing functions.
It can take some time and effort to retrain the body to function on a schedule like this, but if it is done, then the setting is present for the body to recover. This means waking up at the same time every morning (turning on spectrum lights or sitting in the sun if possible), no getting in bed at all during the day; and dimming lights and turning the TV and computer off in the hours before bedtime. Physical activity early in the day, and frequent smaller nutritious meals are important too. This more than anything should help with the migraines.
Proper nutrition, and very importantly, exercise which will help with the neuropathy and poor energy, as well. It will seem counter-intuitive at first - that one needs to exercise in order to get energy, but it is a requirement really, for our bodies to function properly (we can get away without adequate exercise for periods when we are very young, but not as we age) No matter how small in the beginning daily walking, swimming, bicycling, rowing, is as important as food it to the body and brain.
We can predict some improvement with certain medications, but if a program of proper sleep, exercise, nutrition, and water is started, we can guarantee that he will see major improvements in all of his symptoms. Better health is sure to come if he is able to begin to work on these basic health measures. These measures will help to remove the anxiety (exercise removes the adrenalin and cortisol that occurs with anxiety), and through gradually increasing his muscle mass ( pain will resolve - the more muscle mass we have, the better our production of neurotransmitters such as seretonin and endorphins - this became apparent in the treatment of those with fibromyalgia).
Of course, this is your husband that we are speaking of, and you cannot make him do these things, only help him to be aware of it and perhaps be an encouraging partner.
You may find it helpful to get some support for yourself, since you are in the caregiving role, and can only do so much, and importantly must take care of yourself. This link may help with this issue:
If you have any other points or questions to bring up about this, please feel free to reply to this post. We are not finished until you are satisfied with your answer.
Thank you for your patience.
The endocrinologist would be recommended. They are the specialist that are best at checking thyroid, and should check for vitamin D as well, but you can also ask for it to make sure.
I think sometimes that doctors and other health care providers (don't want to just single doctors out!) don't listen too well, and this can be for several reasons... it may be that they are rushed. Or, it may be that their main focus is on the particular area of their specialty and they disregard issues outside of that. There has been great strides in the amount of medical knowledge available, and with this comes some fragmentation, since in order to learn it well, a specialist must focus on a particular area of medicine. For example, the psychiatrist might focus on one aspect, the nephrologist another, the endocrinologist another, and on and on. An underlying problem may never get addressed, instead only various symptoms are treated.
At the same time, sometimes people/patients may not be ready to hear certain things. A very candid physician/health care provider may find themselves being taken as rude or lacking in etiquette, and certainly when talking about something as personal as one's health, people can be easily offended, may feel guilt or feel like they are being blamed, even when they are not. So certain subjects are not even brought up because of the 'can of worms' that it may open.
I'm glad you asked about going 'the natural remedy route'. I do believe it is to the patient's advantage to take the best from what modern medicine has to offer and the best from what alternative (or a better term is 'complementary') medicine has to offer.
One still has to be picky with complementary medicine, and know what is legitimate and what is a money making scam.
In general, besides certain herbal products that have been shown through research to be beneficial for certain conditions, much of complementary medicine is basic age old wisdom.
Consider, that the illnesses that are present today are not the illnesses that people had before the 1950's.. In the past, people died of viruses and bacterial infection, or from the effects of trauma and inadequate technology. About the same time antibiotics and technological advances took care of these major health issues, we also advanced in that we could preserve food for long times, resulting in convenience and packaged foods, and machines did the harvesting and took care of our transportation. So, while technological advances solved one area of medicine, it caused most of our modern health problems.
The health issues that effect us now: high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, endocrine imbalances, depression, were not present in the past (except among the very wealthy - that could afford to pay other people to do their work, and to eat what ever they liked).
So, what this shows us, is that we can solve these illnesses, and we do this by living in a much simpler manner. It may not seem simpler at first, because we have to change some habits that we are used to, and change is always difficult, at least psychologically, in the beginning.
One has to eat more simple, less processed foods, and instead of having machines drive us about, we need to start walking or biking to get our errands done. If this is not possible in your area, then you do the best you can... you start step by step. Adding walking, learning new ways to prepare foods, and being open to taking a few new steps a day..
The issue for you, will be, is your husband willing to be open to living his life in a new way?
I have found this website to be very helpful in learning to live in healthier ways. It is a non-profit website and addresses mental health, but also nutritional, and physical requirements for health.
This section is the diet and nutrition and it gives very practical advice:
This is the main page, and if you look to the left, you will find directions on proper sleep, work and career; brain, body and spirit; caregiving (as I mentioned in the first post) and more. http://helpguide.org/
So basically, I am recommending that he does go to the endocrinologist and follow the recommendations. At the same time, he can treat the underlying problems through natural health methods - this means increase in activity, healthier diet, sleep regulation (don't forget daily exposure to sunlight). These things have been shown in actual studies to reduce blood pressure, sleep apnea, and depression, among other issues. Again if he does these things, I can guarantee he will improve over all. He just has to get through any psychological hurdles and take those first steps. Additionally, you may want to consider seeing a Naturalpathic physician as they can give you a personal program and direction on diet, activity, and more, (or consider seeing a regular nutritionist.)
Please feel free to reply with any questions or concerns, i am happy to discuss anything until you are satisfied with your answer (and beyond)
Thank you, you are so welcome, please feel free to keep me updated; and I will be happy to help in any way I can (explanations; interpretation of test results, etc.) on you and your husband's 'journey' to wellness. You can reach me by either replying to this thread in the future, or going through my profile page here: http://www.justanswer.com/medical/expert-susanivybsnmsn/