What is neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a condition that causes tingling or numbness, especially in the hands and feet. If there is a damage to a single or multiple nerves, then this problem happens. There are different types of neuropathy there are different types of neuropathy seen in case of different people but peripheral neuropathy is the most common in people with cancer.
Symptoms of neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy can affect some specific nerves. These are those nerves which help you to understand the position of your hands or feet that let you sense hot or cold or that sense pain. Many people experience a tingling or numbness in some areas of the body. It mostly affects the hands and feet. The sensations may be mild to painful and they are generally at the peak at night.
Common signs and symptoms
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include-
- Numbness or tingling, especially of the hands or feet.
- Pain or cramping, especially of the hands, feet or calf muscles.
- Sensitivity to touch or temperature.
- Loss of reflexes.
- Muscle wasting in the hands and feet.
- Weakness, especially in the feet or hands.
- Loss of balance, particularly in the dark.
- Dizziness, especially when getting up from a bed or a chair.
- Sexual dysfunction.
You need to understand that it is not easy to deal with neuropathy. If you notice symptoms of neuropathy, it is very important that you talk to your doctor immediately. It may be easier to control at the initial stage rather than a later stage.
Factors that increase the risk of neuropathy
There are some factors which can increase the risk of neuropathy. There are certain cancer types which can increase the risk of neuropathy. Such cancer types include lung, ovarian, breast, myeloma, lymphoma and Hodgkin's disease and testicular cancer.
There are some life factors which can increase the possibility of developing neuropathy. Such life factors may include:
- Advanced age.
- A family history of neuropathy (such as with familial diabetes).
- Excessive use of alcohol.
- Having a preexisting medical condition such as diabetes or thyroid dysfunction.
- Some medications (including chemotherapy medications) also increase risk.
Medicines that may increase the risk of neuropathy
There are some medicines which may increase the risk of neuropathy and such medicines include-
- Platinum compounds.
- Vinca alkaloids.
- Cytosine arabinoside.
Treatments for neuropathy
The peripheral nerves have agreed ability to heal. It may need some time but the possibility of recovery is there. In some cases symptoms of neuropathy may lessen but the problem may not completely go away.
The treatment options depend on the cause of the problem. If neuropathy is caused by chemotherapies, it can be difficult to cure and recovery may take 18 months to 5 years. Neuropathy caused by radiation may also take long time to cure.
Some of the treatment options of neuropathy
If the neuropathy problem is related to nutritional deficiencies, supplements may help you to recover from this problem.
If the neuropathy is related to chemotherapies, you will need supportive treatment options which are designed to improve symptoms and function.
If neuropathy has happen because of a medical conditions like diabetes or thyroid dysfunction, treating the condition can reverse the neuropathic symptoms.