We know that the nervous system is the main organ system that is responsible for sending messages to and from the brain as well as to the spinal cord. This is to and from all of the parts of our body. Nerves, specifically, are the ones that carry the message from a part of the body to another, in the form of electrical signals. Therefore, our nerves are very important to our body. Thus anything that may affect its function may be a big problem. One condition that may affect the nerves in the peripheral neuropathy. This condition often causes the nerves to get weak, numb, and in pain. This usually occurs in the hands and in the feet. In this article, you’ll get to know the causes, symptoms, as well as the treatments for peripheral neuropathy. So, if you are ready to know these and more, read on!
Peripheral Neuropathy: What is this condition?
Table of Contents
- 1 Peripheral Neuropathy: What is this condition?
- 2 Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
- 3 Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
- 4 Treatments for Peripheral Neuropathy
It is a nerve disorder that is distant from the spinal cord as well as the brain. Those who have the condition may experience unusual sensations, burning pain, weakness, numbness, as well as tingling sensations in the affected area. Frequently, the symptoms of the condition are involved and symmetrical to both the hands and feet. Furthermore, because the symptoms often appear in covered areas, the condition is oftentimes defined as having distribution symptoms of the gloves and stocking used in the areas.
Furthermore, peripheral neuropathy may involve various types of nerve. This includes the sensory nerves, autonomic nerves, as well as the motor nerves. The condition may also be considered by the nerve fiber size that is involved, whether it is large or small.
Neuropathy may appear with a number of different symptoms, including different types of pain, numbness, loss of balance, or even weakness, varying on what type of nerve is actually involved. The autonomic nerves are the ones that control the bodily functions that we don’t think of consciously, just like the emptying of bladder and bowel, heart rate, as well as the digestion. Because of that, the autonomic neuropathy exhibits symptoms that affect the loss of control in those bodily functions.
Certain nerves may have an involvement in neuropathy. Furthermore, when a specific nerve is getting involved, the symptoms may be limited to the dissemination of that particular nerve. The most common nerve to get involved in the peripheral neuropathy is the median nerve, which becomes entrapped and may cause the symptoms of neuropathy to appear.
Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
Here are some of the possible causes of peripheral neuropathy:
- Statin medications
- Rare diseases like hereditary amyloidosis, autonomic neuropathy, hereditary sensory, Tangier disease, and Fabry disease
- Cancer therapy medications
- Exposure to toxins
- Inherited disorders or conditions
- Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc.
- Vitamin deficiency i.e. folate and vitamin B12
- Diabetes mellitus
In various cases, there is no cause that can be identified.
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
Each and every nerve in the peripheral system has specific functions. Hence, symptoms mainly depend on what type of nerves are affected. The nerves are classified into the following:
- Autonomic nerves: controls the function of the blood pressure, bladder, digestion, as well as the heart rate.
- Motor nerves: controls the movements of the muscles.
- Sensory nerves: receives the sensation from the skin, just like pain, temperature, touch or vibration
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include:
- Paralysis or muscle weakness if the motor nerves are the ones getting the condition
- Lack of body coordination or falling
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Burning, freezing, throbbing, jabbing, and sharp pain
- Gradual inception of tingling, prickling, or numbness in the feet or hands, which may spread up to the legs and the arms
In the event that the autonomic nerves are the ones getting the condition, the symptoms may be:
- Changes in the blood pressure level, thus causing lightheadedness or dizziness
- Bowel, digestive, or bowel problems
- Altered sweating and heat intolerance
Treatments for Peripheral Neuropathy
the treatments for peripheral neuropathy either targets the underlying cause or its aims at providing symptomatic pain relief that prevents any further damage. In diabetic neuropathy, giving high blood sugars may help in preventing nerve damage. on the other hand, in toxic causes, getting rid of the toxin can be beneficial.
Various medications may help in relieving pain as well as reducing the burning, tingling, and numbness sensation.
Drug treatments for neuropathic pain:
- Opioid painkillers
Various treatments for peripheral neuropathy:
- Topical treatments
- Anti-seizure medications
- Pain relievers
Therapies for peripheral neuropathy
- Physical therapy
- Intravenous immune globulin and plasma exchange
- TENS or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
- Monitoring the blood sugar levels
- Avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol
- Eating healthy meals
- Quitting smoking
- Regular exercise
- Taking care of the feet
- Amino acids
- Alpha-lipoic acid
Prevention of Peripheral Neuropathy
Even though there is a family history of the condition, you may prevent its possible onset by doing these:
- Not inhaling toxins like glue
- Protecting the feet during sports
- Understanding what are the toxins that might get you exposed at school or at work