Peripheral Neuropathy, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Neuropathy is a general term used to refer to the malfunctions or diseases associated with the nerves. There are different types of nerves in the body and due to injuries and diseases their functions can be compromised. Neuropathy is classified according to the type of the nerve affected, the location of the affected nerve or the diseases causing the condition. The main types of neuropathy include autonomic neuropathy, cranial neuropathy, focal neuropathy and peripheral neuropathy. The latter is the most common type among patients.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
The peripheral nervous system connects the central nervous system, brain or the spinal cord to the rest of the body. These includes the arms, hands, feet, legs, internal organs, mouth, and face among other body sections. These nerves serve the vital role of sending or delivering signals from these body parts effectively forming a communication network throughout the body.
Peripheral neuropathy is the condition that results from the damage or destruction of these nerves. A single nerve defect can affect the functioning of the entire body.
Signs and Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
Among the sign and symptoms of this condition includes;
- Numbness in various parts of the body.
- Tingling in the hands and /or feet
- Abnormal sensitivity to pain stimuli
- Abnormal sweating
- Muscle wasting
- Impaired sexual function and urination
- Digestion problems
Symptoms should be addressed prompts and failure to can cause the condition to escalate. This can further lead to breathing problems and glad/organ failure.
Causes and Diagnosis
Peripheral Neuropathy is an inheritable condition and can also be triggered by trauma or severe diseases. Traumas associated with the disease are caused by car accidents, sports-related injuries and surgical operations. Surgical procedures can compress, detach or severe nerves rendering them dysfunctional.
Diabetes is another significant cause of Peripheral neuropathy. Characterized by high blood sugar levels, people majority of people with high Diabetes mellitus have certain degrees of the condition. Small vessel disease, autoimmune diseases, kidney disorders and cancers are other associated causes of the disease.
Diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy involves physical examinations and establishments of patient’s medical history. Blood sugar levels are checked to rule out diabetes. The functioning of the thyroid also needs to be checked to establish for abnormalities. Other diagnoses include CT scan/MRI, nerve biopsy, electromyography and nerve condition study. CT scans are conducted by physicians to check if there might be something pressing on your nerves like a tumor or herniated disk. Nerve biopsy is a minor surgery conducted to remove a small amount of nerve tissues, which are then examined by the doctor.
Precaution and Treatment
Some of the precaution measures include the adoption of a healthy lifestyle (diet and exercise), correcting mineral/vitamin deficiencies, avoiding toxins and going for regular checkups. The contributing diseases are treated so as to alleviate the condition. Prescription immunosuppressive drugs are used to control autoimmune conditions leading to neuropathy. These are just a few of the treatments used. Doctors choose treatments based on the extent of the condition and after a careful analysis of the cause.
Peripheral neuropathy is a serious medication condition and treatment methods are being advanced. It is best to adopt the above mentioned precautionary measures to avoid acquiring this condition. In case you experience the above-mentioned symptoms, seek immediate medical attention from your doctor.