Neuropathy: Effects, Symptoms, Causes, and Prevention

Neuropathy: Effects, Symptoms, Causes, and Prevention

Jan 25 , 2021

Erandika

Tags - Neuropathy


When the nerves damage or fail to function, the condition is called Neuropathy.

In the UK, 10% of the people above the age of 55 are diagnosed with Neuropathy. 


Effects and Symptoms of Neuropathy

Neuropathy could result in muscle weakness, pain, numbness and tingling in the area affected.

Also, it gives out burning or throbbing sensation, stabbing pain, sharp and lightning sensation/pain. 

On the other hand, paralysis, dizziness, low blood pressure, sweating more than usual, having temperature, sexual function problems, weight loss and problems with the metabolic system are few other serious symptoms of Neuropathy.

Here, the function of different nerves vary. Therefore, the symptoms depend on which nerve is affected. For example Sensory nerves are responsible for sensation, motor nerves are responsible for muscle movement and autonomic nerves control blood pressure, digestion, heart rate and more. 


Peripheral Neuropathy

Neuropathy is more commonly called Peripheral Neuropathy as it affects the peripheral nervous system.

To provide more context, the peripheral nervous system contains nerves outside the brain and spinal cord (Brain and Spinal cord are the central nervous system.)

Here, the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system are interconnected and work together, where Central nervous systems send signals and messages to the body through the network of peripheral nervous systems.

Therefore, to be precise, Neuropathy occurs when the neurons (which are nerve cells) get damaged or destroyed. This agitates how neurons (Peripheral nervous system) connect with each other and the brain (Central nervous system). 


Further Specifics

Neuropathy could affect people at any age but if you are aged above 55, you are more likely to get it.

Further, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, family history, high cholesterol and alcoholism could increase the chance of getting neuropathy.

In addition, occupational hazards, such as having repetitive motions leading to compression of nerves could result in Neuropathy.

People with high risk of neuropathy should go for regular check ups and assess the nerve functions.

Consult the doctor as soon as possible, If the pain gets worse. For instance, if you lose sensations, loss of balance or feel weak and if any wound doesn't heal.

To understand your issue further, the doctor will conduct some tests or refer you to a neurologist for further testing. Sooner it is diagnosed, the better it is, to avoid any serious complications.

Neuropathy is treated depending on the symptoms and not all the symptoms can be treated. As regular pain killers do not help with neuropathy pain, patients are prescribed neuropathic pain agents.


Causes of Neuropathy

1. Diabetes & Other Diseases

Neuropathy is diagnosed among more than half the diabetic patients.

And, there are other diseases such as thyroid, kidney diseases, liver diseases and tumors that cause Neuropathy as well. 

Tumors are cancerous or noncancerous growths which form on the nerves and compresses them which in result causes neuropathy. 

Certain infections, such as HIV, Shingles, Chicken pox, herpes, and hepatitis C can also cause Neuropathy. 


2. Autoimmune Disease & Inherited Disorders

Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and vasculitis causes nerve damage and hence, causes Neuropathy.

Hereditary diseases such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, Fabry disease, Familial amyloidosis and metachromatic leukodystrophy could also cause neuropathy.


3. Medication & Exposure to Poisons

Certain Medicines such as once used in cancer treatments, antibiotics, anti-seizures medicines and HIV medicines could cause neuropathy.

Apart from medicines, treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy could harm the nerves and cause neuropathy.

Exposure to toxic substances such as industrial chemicals, solvents and heavy metals affect the nerve and lead to neuropathy. 


4. Trauma or Pressure on the Nerve. 

Trauma which occurs after a fall or an accident may harm the peripheral nerves.

Adding to that wearing a cast or using a crutch could add more pressure to the nerves and compress them which causes neuropathy.


5. Vitamin Deficiencies & Alcoholism

Vitamin B, Vitamin E & Niacin are essential for a healthy nerve.

Therefore, lack of those nutrients could harm the nerve function. 

Alcoholism could affect the nutrient absorption level and result in vitamin deficiencies in the nerves. Excessive consumption of alcohol becomes toxic to nerves.


Prevention

To prevent Neuropathy, control the diabetics, high blood pressure and alcoholism.

To keep these under control, have a healthy diet, and exercise regularly.

In addition, avoid repetitive movements, do not add pressure on nerves and be careful of your movements. 


To learn more, get in touch with us today.

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