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Symptoms and causes of peripheral neuropathy

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Peripheral neuropathy happens as a result of damage to your peripheral nerves. It can cause weakness, numbness and pain and generally such numbness and pain and weakness are seen in your hands and feet. In some cases, it may also affect other areas of your body.

The peripheral nervous system in your body sends information from your brain and spinal cord or the central nervous system to the rest of your body. Traumatic injuries, infections, inherited causes, metabolic problems and exposure to toxins can result in peripheral neuropathy. Another very common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes mellitus.

Symptoms

People suffering from peripheral neuropathy may see different symptoms. Every nerve in the peripheral system has a specific function and so depending on the nerves affected, the peripheral neuropathy may show different symptoms. There are sensory nerves which receives sensation like temperature, vibration, pain or touch from the skin. Motor nerves control muscle movements. Autonomic nerves control functions like blood pressure, digestion, heart rate and bladder.

Signs and symptoms

Numbness, pricking or tingling in your feet or hands may gradually start and then it can spread upwards into your legs and arms. You may suffer from Sharp, jabbing, throbbing, freezing or burning pain. It can also cause extreme sensitivity to touch. You will suffer from lack of coordination and falling. There may be muscle weakness or paralysis only if motor nerves are affected by this problem.

If the autonomic nerves are affected, there may be some other signs and symptoms-

  • Heat intolerance and altered sweating
  • Bowel, bladder or digestive problems
  • Changes in blood pressure, causing dizziness or light-headedness

Peripheral Europe it is such a problem which can affect one nerve in which case it is known as mono neuropathy, to be more nerves in different areas of the body, which is called as multiple mono neuropathy or it can affect many nerves which is known as polyneuropathy. Most people who suffer from peripheral neuropathy generally have polyneuropathy.

Causes

Very familiar would he is simply damage of different nerves and so can be caused by different conditions. Some of the well-known causes of peripheral neuropathy are-

Alcohol-if you are an alcoholic and you do not follow a healthy diet, it can result in peripheral neuropathy.

Autoimmune disease-there are some autoimmune diseases which can result in peripheral neuropathy. Sjogren’s syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and necrotizing vasculitis are some of the diseases which can result in neuropathy.

Diabetes-it is one of the largest causes of neuropathy. About half the people with diabetes develop some kind of neuropathy.

Medicines-there are some medicines which can cause neuropathy in some people. Medicines which are used for treating cancer can cause peripheral neuropathy in some people.

Exposure to toxins-if you are somehow exposed to toxins and toxic substances including heavy metal or chemicals, they can also cause peripheral neuropathy.

Infections-some viral or bacterial infections can cause peripheral neuropathy. Such inspections include Lyme disease, shingles, Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis C, diphtheria, leprosy and HIV.

Trauma or pressure on the nerve-different traumas like accidents, falls or sports injuries can cause peripheral neuropathy by severing or damaging peripheral nerves. Too much nerve pressure can happen having a cast or using crutches are repeating a motion like typing for a long duration.

References

1. The Neuropathy Solution Program
2. Peripheral Neuropathy Information Page
3. Diabetic neuropathy