Neuropathy is a neurological condition. It is a complex disease that is often a complication of a number of different medical conditions and can involve the peripheral nerves, autonomic nerves, motor nerves, and sensory nerves. Possible causes for neuropathy include diabetes, physical trauma, infection, repetitive injury, metabolic problems, exposure to toxins and certain drugs and medications.
What is neuropathy?
Neuropathy is an organic neurological disease that occurs when the nerves connecting the spinal cord to the rest of your body become damaged or disrupted. It is a fairly prevalent condition, affecting around 2-3% of the population. Common symptoms of neuropathy include tingling, weakness, numbness, and pain. It can also cause the organs to dysfunction, leading to issues with sexual function and waste elimination.
Peripheral neuropathy primarily affects the hands and feet. While it is most often caused by diabetes, it can also be the result of traumatic injury, infection, chemotherapy, metabolic issues, or genetics. Neuropathy can cause a loss of sensation which can result in problems with muscle tone in the feet or hands. If left untreated, neuropathy can even result in infection due to inability to feel an injury. Because of this, those who are affected by peripheral neuropathy need to frequently inspect the affected areas.
What are the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy depend on the underlying cause, although symptoms are typically similar. Peripheral neuropathy commonly affects the nerves of sensation, and as a result, people with peripheral neuropathy develop pain, burning, or tingling in the affected nerves. The hands and feet are most commonly affected. When peripheral neuropathy is caused by shingles, the particular nerves affected causes a localized burning and itching sensation. Common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle twitching
- Loss of muscle and bone mass
- Changes in skin, hair, or nails
- Loss of sensation or feeling in body parts
- Loss of balance or other functions
- Emotional disturbances
- Sleep disruptions
- Loss of pain or sensation of high risk medical situations, such as limb pain or not feeling an impending heart attack
- Inability to sweat properly, leading to heat intolerance
- Loss of bladder control, leading to infection/incontinence
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting
- Diarrhea, constipation, or incontinence
- Trouble eating or swallowing
- Life-threatening symptoms, such as arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) or difficulty breathing
Because the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may look like other conditions or medical problems, it is always important to see a healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
What are the causes of neuropathy?
There are many potential causes of peripheral neuropathy. These include:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Shingles (post herpetic neuralgia)
- Vitamin deficiency, particularly B12 and folate
- Autoimmune diseases
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- AIDS, whether from the disease or its treatment
- Kidney failure
- Inherited disorders
- Amyloid polyneuropathy
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
- Exposure to toxins, such as lead, mercury, arsenic, heavy metals and organophosphate pesticides
- Medications or drugs
- Cancer therapy drugs
- Certain antibiotics
- Nitrous oxide, when used in excess
- Fabry disease
- Tangier disease
- Hereditary sensory autonomic neuropathy
- Hereditary amyloidosis
How is neuropathy treated?
Neuropathy is treated with a number of different treatments and therapies. At PC Medical Centers, we utilize rehabilitation therapy for the treatment for neuropathy as these therapies have been proven to be safe and effective and present little risk or chance of side effects.
If you or someone you love has neuropathy, come to PC Medical Centers for treatment today. Our kind and compassionate professionals are experienced in treating neuropathy and can help find out what is causing your symptoms. Call us today to book an appointment. We serve patients from Cape Girardeau MO, Oak Ridge MO, Scott City MO, Jackson MO, Chaffee MO, Whitewater MO, Shawnee Township MO, and Whitewater MO. Looking forward to serve you!