Peripheral neuropathy is a condition caused by the damaging of the peripheral nerves. The most common areas of the body affected by peripheral neuropathy are the upper and lower extremitas. However, some people may have symptoms in other body parts as well.
The peripheral nervous system delivers information from the brain and the spinal cord to the rest of the body, as well as delivers information from tissues to the brain and the spinal cord. Therefore, peripheral neuropathy is the reason for altering the information being delivered between the brain and the rest of the body. There are different conditions that lead to peripheral neuropathy such as infections, traumas, metabolic problems, toxins, inherited diseases, and so on. The most common condition that has peripheral neuropathy as a complication is diabetes mellitus.
Symptoms depend on the type of nerves which have been affected. There are three types of nerves in the peripheral nervous system which are the following:
- Sensory nerves. These nerves receive sensory information such as temperature, vibration, pain, touch, sensations from the skin.
- Motor nerves. These nerves control the movement of the muscles.
- Autonomic nerves. These nerves have important control on blood pressure, digestion, heart rate, as well as bladder.
If motor nerves and sensory nerves are affected by the peripheral neuropathy, then symptoms may include the following:
- Numbness, tingling or prickling in your hands or feet, which gradually increases and spreads upwards into legs and arms.
- Increased sensitivity to touch.
- Pain that may be freezing, burning, jabbing, throbbing or sharp.
- Loss of coordination, falling, muscle weakness or even paralysis.
If autonomic nerves are affected, then symptoms may include:
- Altered sweating.
- Heat intolerance.
- Bladder problems.
- Digestive problems.
- Blood pressure changes that lead to dizziness and lightheadedness.
Depending on the number of nerves affected by the condition, peripheral neuropathy may be the following types:
- Only one nerve is affected.
- Multiple mononeuripathy. More than one nerve is affected but they are present in different areas.
- Many nerves are affected in various areas.
Peripheral neuropathy is not a single disease. It is a condition that is caused by many different other conditions. These conditions include the following:
- This is a very common condition and millions of people around the world have it. More than half of them develop peripheral neuropathy, especially if they have had diabetes for many years.
- This is another very common condition leading to peripheral neuropathy. The reason is vitamin deficiencies caused by poor diets of people with alcoholism.
- Autoimmune diseases. There are many autoimmune diseases that may lead to peripheral neuropathy such as Guillain-Barre syndrome, Sjogren’s syndrome, Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, and more.
- A wide range of medications have a relation to this condition, but most commonly chemotherapy medications cause peripheral neuropathy.
- Examples are Hepatitis C, Leprosy, HIV, diphtheria, shingles, Lyme disease, and more.
- Inherited diseases.
- Exposure to toxins. These toxins may be chemicals or heavy metals.
- Pressure on the nerves or traumatic injuries. These include sport injuries, motor vehicle accidents, falls, and more. Nerve pressure may be caused by crutches, having a cast, or repetitive motions such as typing and more.
- Vitamin B and E deficiencies. These are crucial for the normal functions of the peripheral nerves.
- It is common for different growths to occur on the nerves which can both be cancerous or noncancerous. It is also possible for certain tumors to affect the immune response and cause the onset of a peripheral neuropathy. It is called paraneoplastic syndrome.
- Diseases of the bone marrow. These conditions include amyloidosis, osteosclerotic myeloma, monoclonal gammopathies, and more.
- Other conditions. These include liver diseases, kidney diseases, disorders of the connective tissue, and thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism.
- In this case peripheral neuropathy is present without a known cause.
There are different traditional treatment methods used for peripheral neuropathy, but it is very important to find the root causes of the condition in order to be successful in treating it. There are many people who have been unsuccessful in managing their peripheral neuropathy simply because of not treating the root causes and experiencing the mistakes of their physicians. We can give you a consultation and help you find the problems in your body leading to this condition. We can also help you determine if the treatment you have is the right one and show you the common mistakes that physicians make when it comes to peripheral neuropathy.