3 Important Factors of Peripheral Neuropathy
Written by: Soul Focus
Often referred to as neuropathy or peripheral nerve damage, peripheral neuropathy refers to the deterioration of one or several nerves. Peripheral neuropathy leads to pain, muscle weakness, numbness, and tingling. Neuropathies tend to start at the hands and feet. However, other parts can also be affected.
Peripheral neuropathy affects the peripheral nervous system. Your peripheral nervous system transmits information from the central nervous system to all your body parts. The central nervous system is made up of the brain and the spinal cord and is responsible for interpreting signals. Your peripheral nervous system also transmits information from the body backs back to the brain.
Nerve damage often results in neuropathy. Damaged nerves cannot transmit information from the brain and spinal cord or relay it back to the central nervous system. For instance, damaged or destroyed cannot send a message to the central nervous system that the feet are cold.
Neuropathies that affect only one nerve are known as mononeuropathies. On the other hand, neuropathies that affect multiple nerves are known as polyneuropathy. Multifocal neuropathy affects several nerves in a specific area.
Studies have proved that about 100 types of this condition exist. Each type of peripheral neuropathy has specific symptoms, prognosis, and development patterns. The symptoms and impaired function vary according to the damaged nerve. Damaged motor nerves will impair conscious muscle movement, affecting talking, walking, and grasping.
On the other hand, damaged sensory nerves affect sensory experiences. For instance, feeling pain from a cut becomes impossible when sensory nerves are affected. Damaged autonomic nerves do not regulate involuntary biological processes like digestion, breathing, and cardiovascular function.
However, some neuropathies can affect all three nerves, while others can affect one or two nerves. These neuropathies are referred to as predominantly motor neuropathy, predominantly sensory neuropathy, and autonomic neuropathy. Doctors also use terms such as sensory-motor neuropathy to describe the condition.
The Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
Since neuropathy is a progressive condition, it usually begins with one symptom. In most cases, the disease starts with balance issues and numbness before progressing into severe symptoms. Neuropathy is also a degenerative condition, meaning that it reduces the patient’s quality of life. Let us look at the symptoms of neuropathy below:
The symptoms of neuropathy vary according to the affected nerve. Moreover, the symptoms can occur in a couple of days, months, and years. Damaged motor nerves usually cause muscle weakness. Other degenerative symptoms like muscle cramps, twitching, muscle loss, and fasciculation also occur. Patients also note changes in the nails, hair, and skin. It is vital to note that these symptoms can occur due to damaged sensory and autonomic nerves.
The best treatment approach focuses on the cause and not the symptoms. The goal should be to reduce symptoms and damage without using surgery and drugs.
When it comes to peripheral sensory nerve damage, patients experience a complex range of symptoms since sensory nerves perform a wide range of specialized functions. For instance, large sensory nerves protected by myelin are responsible for registering vibrations and position. These nerves also register a light touch. Damage to large sensory fibers inhibits their ability to conduct these functions, leading to numbness. Patients also find it hard to distinguish shapes by touch.
Moreover, patients find it hard to balance when eyes are closed, walk, or grasp things. Peripheral nervous damage also causes neuropathic pain, which is difficult to control. Neuropathic pain also affects the quality of life and worsens at night.
Small sensory fibers without myelin are responsible for sending pain and temperature signals. These nerves fail to communicate pain and temperature signals when they are destroyed. For instance, patients fail to feel pain when small sensory nerves are destroyed. Unfortunately, patients are susceptible to heart attacks and acute conditions after losing pain sensations. That explains the high rate of limb amputations among the diabetes population. In other cases, skin pain receptors can be over sensitized, leading to allodynia, severe pain.
The symptoms of autonomic nerve damage vary according to the affected organs and glands. The condition can be life-threatening when it impairs breathing or when the heart beats irregularly. Patients lose bladder control and experience heat intolerance. Moreover, patients can lose control of muscles that control blood pressure. This leads to dizziness and lightheadedness.
Autonomic neuropathy also causes gastrointestinal symptoms. This happens when the nerves controlling the digestive muscles malfunction. The common symptoms include constipation, incontinence, and diarrhea.
Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy is either acquired or inherited. There are various causes of acquired peripheral neuropathy, including physical trauma to a nerve. Other causes of acquired neuropathy are toxins, tumors, nutritional decencies, metabolic disorders, and autoimmune responses. Alcoholism and vascular disorders can also cause peripheral neuropathy. Acquired peripheral neuropathy is grouped into different classifications according to the cause.
The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is physical trauma. Injury from accidents and falls can cause nerve damage.
Systematic diseases like endocrine disorders and metabolic disorders can also cause peripheral nerve damage. Diabetes mellitus is also a common cause of nerve damage.
Kidney disorders can also lead to peripheral nerve damage due to the buildup of toxic substances in the blood.
Hormonal imbalances also lead to peripheral neuropathy. Low levels of thyroid hormones lead to swelling that exerts pressure on peripheral nerves.
Alcoholism and vitamin deficiencies can also lead to severe nerve damage. Lack of Vitamins E, B1, B12, and B12 impairs nerve function. People suffering from alcoholism suffer from thiamine deficiency, which leads to severe neuropathy.
Vascular damage can also lead to severe nerve damage or death of nerves due to enough oxygen supply.
Chronic nerve damage and connective tissue disorders can also lead to peripheral nerve damage.
Cancers and HIV can also cause extensive damage to the peripheral nervous system.
Learn more about Peripheral Neuropathy here
The best treatment approach focuses on the cause and not the symptoms. The goal should be to reduce symptoms and damage without using surgery and drugs. Learn more about the best treatment approach below:
Regeneration of deteriorated bone, tissue, and cartilage
Doctors will create new blood cells through a process referred to as Angiogenesis.
Doctors will reduce nerve pressure in the spine to improve blood flow to the cells and nerves.
The doctors will Infuse vitamins and nutrients to reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation.
Apply here for a consultation today to discover whether you qualify for peripheral neuropathy treatment.