If you are feeling numbness or pain in your hands and feet, or are experiencing issues with bodily functions such as digestion and urination, you might have a form of nerve damage known as peripheral neuropathy.
Every message that our brain sends and receives to control our body’s systems and experience sensations travels along our nervous system, and these complex connections can sometimes suffer damage that interfere with their function. Left untreated, neuropathy can result in numbness, tingling, or even intense stabbing or burning pain.
6 Things You Should Know About Peripheral Neuropathy
- Neuropathy causes: While diabetes is the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy, the problems associated with regulating the body’s glucose levels are not the only cause of the condition.
Many other issues can lead to neuropathy, such as:
- Exposure to toxins
- Medications such as metformin
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Metabolic issues and other inherited traits
- Idiopathic neuropathy: While there are many known causes for nerve damage resulting in peripheral neuropathy, occasionally the ultimate cause can elude diagnosis, which can be extremely frustrating for the patient. In this case, the medical community calls this “idiopathic neuropathy.”
- Symptoms- Because each nerve within your body is specialized with regard to form and function, the symptoms of neuropathy can vary greatly, depending on the job the nerves do:
- Sensory nerves- signs and symptoms can include numbness, tingling or sharp or burning pain. You may also experience pain in situations that should not normally cause it, such as being under a blanket, standing, or other extreme sensitivity to touch.
- Motor nerves- when these nerves are damaged, coordination, muscle control, weakness, falling or even paralysis can occur.
- Autonomic nerves- if the nerves that control involuntary body processes are affected, you may experience issues such as digestive problems or dizziness from low blood pressure.
- Risk factors for neuropathy: While diabetes, alcoholism and exposure to toxins are the primary risk factors, having a family history of the disorder as well as issues like repetitive motion, kidney or thyroid issues, autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus can also put you at risk for developing neuropathy.
- Complications: The pain or numbness and lack of motor control and problems with bodily functions are serious effects of neuropathy, but there can be other problems associated with these symptoms. Because of the lack of sensitivity, injuries such as burns or infections are common, and falls and resulting injuries can occur because of problems with coordination and balance.
- Prevention- While some causes of neuropathy are beyond the control of the patient, there are steps that can be taken to prevent, slow, or lessen its effects. Diet is a primary means of controlling neuropathy. Avoiding foods that trigger diabetic reactions, such as refined sugars can eliminate some of the strain on the nerves. Getting enough exercise and managing vitamin intake are essential to overall health and can definitely improve the body’s response to neuropathy.
Managing your overall health is essential to preventing and managing problems like peripheral neuropathy. Discussing options and a lifestyle or treatment plan with a professional can put you on a path to regaining the peace and control over your life you may feel you have lost.
If you or a loved one are suffering from peripheral neuropathy contact us today to schedule a free consultation.