Peripheral Neuropathy - What It Is, Symptoms and Treatmentsthis condition. In additionPeripheral neuropathyis a disorder that occurs when these nerves malfunction because they are damaged or destroyed. This disrupts the normal functioning of the nerves. They may send pain signals when there is nothing causing pain, or they may not send a sign of pain, even if something is hurting you.
This may be due to:
- An injury
- Systemic disease
- An infection
- An inherited disorder
The disorder is uncomfortable, but the treatments can be very helpful. The most important thing to determine is whetherPeripheral neuropathyis the result of a serious underlying condition. Your peripheral nervous system connects the nerves of the brain and the spinal cord, or central nervous system, to the rest of the body. This includes yours:.
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- Internal organs
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy:The three types of peripheral nerves are:
- Sensory nerves that connect to your skin
- Motor nerves, which connect to muscles
- Autonomic nerves, which connect to your internal organs
THEPeripheral neuropathycan affect a nervous group or all three. Symptoms ofPeripheral neuropathyinclude:.
- Tingling in the hands or feet;
- A feeling as if you were wearing a tight glove or sock;
- Sharp and stabbed pain;
- Numbness in hands or feet;
- A weak, heavy feeling in the arms and legs, which can sometimes feel as if your legs or arms lock in place;
- Dropping things regularly from your hands;
- A buzzing or shocking sensation;
- Skin thinning;
- A drop in blood pressure;
- Sexual dysfunction, especially in men;
- Digestive difficulty;
- excessive sweating.
These symptoms may also indicate other conditions. Be sure to tell your doctor about all of your symptoms.
Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy:People who have a family history ofPeripheral neuropathyare more likely to develop the disease. However, a variety of underlying factors and conditions can also cause this condition.
Generalized Diseases:Nerve damage caused by diabetes is one of the most common forms ofPeripheral neuropathy. This leads to numbness, pain and loss of sensation in the extremities. The risk of neuropathy increases for people who:.
- You are overweight;
- Has high blood pressure;
- You are over 40 years old;
- You have diabetes.
According to thePeripheral neuropathyof the University of Chicago (UCCPN), nearly 60 percent of people with diabetes have some type of nerve damage. This damage is often due to high blood sugar levels. Other chronic diseases that can cause nerve damage include:
- Renal disorders in which large amounts of toxins accumulate in the body and damage nervous tissue;
- Hypothyroidism, which occurs when the body does not produce enough thyroid hormone, leading to fluid retention and pressure around nerve tissues;
- Diseases that cause chronic inflammation and can spread to the nerves or damage the connective tissue around the nerves;
- Deficiencies of vitamins, which are essential for the health and functioning of nerves.
Loss:Physical trauma is the most common cause of nerve damage. This can include car accidents, falls or fractures. Inactivity, or staying too long in one position, can also cause neuropathy. Increased pressure on the median nerve, a nerve in the wrist that provides sensation and movement by hand, causes carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a common type ofPeripheral neuropathy.
Alcohol and Toxins: Alcohol can have a toxic effect on nervous tissue, putting people with severe alcoholism at greater risk ofPeripheral neuropathy..
Exposure to toxic chemicals such as glue, solvents or insecticides, whether by chemical abuse or in the workplace, can also cause nerve damage. In addition, exposure to heavy metals such as lead and mercury can also cause this condition.
Infections and Autoimmune Disorders:Certain viruses and bacteria directly attack the nervous tissue. Viruses such as herpes simplex, varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox and shingles, and the Epstein-Barr virus damage the sensory nerves and cause intense episodes of shooting pain..
Bacterial infections such as Lyme disease can also cause nerve damage and pain if left untreated. People with HIV or AIDS can also developPeripheral neuropathy. Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus affect the peripheral nervous system in several ways. Chronic inflammation and tissue damage throughout the body, as well as pressure caused by inflammation, can lead to severe pain in the nerve in the extremities..
Medicines:Certain medications can also cause nerve damage. These include:
- Anticonvulsants, which people take to treat seizures
- Drugs to Fight Bacterial Infections
- Some blood pressure medications
- Medications used to treat cancer
Recent research in the Journal of Family Practice also suggests that statins, a class of drugs used to treat reduce cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease, can also cause nerve damage and increase the risk of neuropathy..
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Diagnosis of Peripheral Neuropathy:First, your doctor will perform a physical examination and ask about your medical history. If they still do not know if your symptoms are due toPeripheral neuropathy, other tests to perform include:.
- Blood tests can measure vitamin and blood sugar levels and determine if your thyroid is working properly.
- Your doctor may also order a CT scan or MRI to see if anything is pressing on a nerve, such as a herniated disc or a tumor.
- Sometimes your doctor will ask you for a nervous biopsy. This is a minor surgery that involves removing a small amount of nerve tissue that they can then examine under a microscope.
Electromyography:Electromyography may show problems with how your body's nerve signals move into your muscles. For this test, your doctor will put a small needle in your muscle. Your doctor will ask you to move your muscle smoothly. The probes on the needle will measure the amount of electricity moving through the muscle. This test may look like you're getting a shot. Sometimes the area gets sore for a few days afterwards.
Nerve Conduction Study:In a nerve conduction study, your doctor puts electrodes on your skin. They then pulse little amount of electricity through their nerves to see if the nerves are transmitting signals correctly. This procedure is a bit uncomfortable while it is happening, but should not hurt afterwards.
Treatments of Peripheral Neuropathy:Many prescription pain medications may also help control the pain of this condition. These include narcotics, some antiepileptic drugs and some antidepressants. Other prescription drugs are:.
- Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors
- Corticosteroid injections
- Convulsions medications, such as gabapentin or pregabalin
- Antidepressants such as amitriptyline
- Cymbalta, which is an inhibitor of serotonin reuptake norepinephrine
Medical Treatments:Your doctor may use various medical treatments to control the symptoms of this condition. Plasmapheresis is a blood transfusion that removes potentially irritating antibodies from the bloodstream. If you get a nerve block, your doctor will inject an anesthetic directly into your nerves.
Transcutaneous Electronic Nerve Stimulation:Transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS) does not work for everyone, but many people like it because it is drug-free therapy. During TENS, the electrodes placed on the skin send small amounts of electricity to the skin. The purpose of this treatment is to stop the nerves from transmitting pain signals to the brain.
Personal cares:In addition to OTC painkillers, many people have found relief fromPeripheral neuropathyacross:.
- Chiropractic Care
Moderate and regular exercise can also help decrease discomfort. If you drink alcohol or smoke, consider cutting or stopping. Both alcohol and tobacco aggravate nerve pain and can cause nerve damage when used for long periods.
Prevention of Peripheral Neuropathy:Even if you have a family history ofPeripheral neuropathy, you can help prevent it from starting by doing the following:
- Avoiding alcohol or just drinking in moderation
- Avoiding smoking or quitting smoking if smoking
- Eating a healthy diet
- Regular and moderate exercise
You can reduce your risk ofPeripheral neuropathyper:
- Knowing what toxins you may be exposed at work or at school
- Protecting your feet during sports, especially those involving kicks
- Never inhaling toxins like glue to stay high
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If you have diabetes, take special care with your feet. Wash and inspect your feet daily, and keep the skin moist with lotion..
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