Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that affects the nerves in your feet and legs. It can also affect other body parts, such as your hands and arms. The condition can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in your extremities. It can also lead to problems with balance and coordination.
Peripheral neuropathy is caused by damage to the nerves that send signals from your body to your brain. This damage can be caused by several conditions, including diabetes, alcohol abuse, certain medications, and certain infections.
It can cause a variety of symptoms. These symptoms can range from mild to sever and can come and go, or they may get worse over time. It depends on the cause of the neuropathy and how much damage there is to the nerves.
Keep reading to find out more about the types of neuropathy, the most common causes and the latest treatment options in the medical industry today.
What Are The Five Main Types Of Neuropathy?
- Peripheral neuropathy: affects the hands, feet, legs, and arms.
- Proximal neuropathy: affects the thighs and hips.
- Cranial Neuropathy: affects the head and face.
- Autonomic Neuropathy: affects the vital organs.
- Focal neuropathy: affects a single nerve or group of nerves and can affect people with diabetes.
What Are The Most Frequent Causes Of Peripheral Neuropathy?
Some different conditions can cause neuropathy. Here are the most common causes:
This is the most common cause of neuropathy. It happens when high blood sugar levels damage the nerves. Approximately 60 to 70 percent of diabetic people have some form of neuropathy that causes pain, numbness, or tingling.
25% of people with diabetes develop foot ulcers over a lifetime that could lead to amputation. For Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy, Orpyx medical technologies offer help to prevent diabetic foot ulcers.
Insoles for diabetics monitor your foot pressure, step count, hours of use, and temperature data. Real-time notifications will allow you to relieve high-pressure areas immediately, and the report log tracks your progress.
Drinking alcohol for years can be fatal for your health. It can also lead to neuropathy. Alcohol abuse is the second most frequent cause of neuropathy, accounting for about 30 percent of cases.
Injuries such as car accidents, falls, and sports are common neuropathy causes. These traumas can stretch, compress or detach nerves from the spinal cord.
Chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer can damage the nerves and lead to neuropathy. Other medications that can cause neuropathy include antibiotics, antiviral drugs, and medicines used to treat HIV/AIDS.
A lack of vitamin B12 can cause neuropathy. This vitamin is found in meat, poultry, and dairy products. It’s crucial for the nervous system and the production of red blood cells.
- Autoimmune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac disease can damage the nerves.
- Infections include HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, Lyme disease, and shingles.
- Cancer can damage the nerves by growing into them or pressing on them.
- Kidney failure can lead to neuropathy because it can cause a build-up of toxins in the blood that can damage the nerves.
- Blood vessel inflammation such as vasculitis can severely damage the nerves.
- Hormonal imbalances can prevent the body from using vitamins B and E, leading to neuropathy.
Treatment Options For Peripheral Neuropathy
The best way to treat neuropathy, of course, is to prevent it. This can be done by managing conditions leading to neuropathy, such as diabetes and alcoholism. But if the damage is already done, several treatment options are available. They depend on the severity of the neuropathy and the underlying cause.
The first step is to identify the underlying cause of the neuropathy and treat that condition if possible. For example, if diabetes is the cause, then blood sugar levels must be controlled. If an infection is a cause, then it must be treated.
Some medications can help relieve the pain of neuropathy.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin can help relieve pain.
- Topical creams and ointments can be applied to the skin to relieve pain.
- Anticonvulsant drugs such as gabapentin and pregabalin can help relieve pain and prevent seizures.
- Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline, desipramine, and nortriptyline can help relieve pain and improve sleep.
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors such as duloxetine and venlafaxine can help relieve pain.
- Nerve block injections can numb the affected area and relieve pain.
Some kinds of neuropathies can be treated with surgery. In some cases, physical therapy and occupational therapy can help. For more severe cases, pain management specialists can develop a treatment plan that may include a combination of the above treatments.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a treatment that uses electrical impulses to relieve pain. It involves placing electrodes on the skin over the painful area and sending electrical impulses to the nerves. This process can help to block pain signals from reaching the brain.
Acupuncture is another treatment that has been used to relieve pain. It involves placing thin needles into the skin at specific points. It is thought that this process can help release pain-relieving chemicals in the body.
Massage therapy can also help to relieve pain. It involves using the hands to apply pressure and manipulate the muscles and soft tissues. This isn’t a complete treatment, but it can help ease the pain.
As you see, there are many treatment options available for neuropathy. The best way to treat neuropathy is to prevent it by managing underlying conditions and taking measures to protect the nerves.
Peripheral Neuropathy Is A Complicated Condition
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that affects the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord. This can include the nerves in your hands and feet and those responsible for autonomic functions like heart rate, digestion, and bladder control.
Peripheral neuropathy can severely impact your quality of life, making everyday tasks difficult to complete. If you think you may be suffering from peripheral neuropathy, it’s essential to seek medical attention right away. Treatments available can help lessen the symptoms and improve your quality of life.
There is always hope for those suffering from peripheral neuropathy. With early diagnosis and treatment, many people can find relief and live relatively normal lives.