Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Neuropathy Symptoms And The Importance Of Speedy Diagnosis

Today's post from (see link below) has a title that is slightly misleading in that there is little mention of the importance of timely diagnosis. However, it is a very good summary of the main characteristics of neuropathy. It explains in simple terms what the different sorts of neuropathy are and is useful information for even the most experienced neuropathy patient.

Getting the Symptoms correct for Peripheral Neuropathy and a Timely diagnosis

Peripheral neuropathy is a chronic disorder generally characterized by numbness and pain in the hands and feet. The chronic pain is usually due to damage to the nerves of the peripheral nervous system. People report tingling or sometimes burning sensations due to neuropathy pain. It is important to note that neuropathy is not a fatal disease but it does affect the quality of life. The pain can make life complicated if it is accompanied by other diseases.

Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy

The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are dependent on the type of nerves that have actually been affected. There are three types of nerves in the human body. They are:

1. Sensory nerves
2. Motor nerves
3. Autonomic nerves

Peripheral neuropathy may affect any of these nerves or a combination of them. The symptoms may also depend on the severity of the disorder.

Sensory Symptoms

The condition is referred to as sensory neuropathy if the nerves damaged are sensory nerves. The patients who suffer from sensory neuropathy often experience an odd tingling sensation in the hands as well as the feet. This tingling sensation is also followed by a sensation of numbness. The affected part of the body may lose the ability to feel any sensation including pain or discomfort. This generally occurs in the most severe cases of peripheral neuropathy.

The affected person may also be unable to feel cold or warmth. Thus, they may lose the ability to detect any changes in the temperature. The patients suffering from this disorder lose the ability to determine the exact position of their bodily joints. This loss of ability results in an overall loss of coordination in body parts that can be really disturbing.

Peripheral neuropathy also brings about intense burning pain in the feet and hands. This stabbing pain becomes intensified during night time. The parts of the body that are first affected by peripheral neuropathy are the hands and feet. This makes it difficult for the affected person to carry out a variety of activities. The loss of coordination of the joints as well as muscles only makes matters worse. Even walking becomes quite difficult. The person may not be able to hold or pick up objects from various places.

The symptoms of sensory neuropathy should be identified and treated on time. Otherwise, the symptoms may engulf the whole body of the affected person.

Motor Symptoms

If the nerves that are damaged are motor nerves, then this condition is known as motor neuropathy. The main thing that is affected in motor neuropathy is the stimulation of your muscles that is brought about by the motor nerves. This function is severely compromised in motor neuropathy. In addition to this, various other symptoms can occur in the different parts of the body. The muscles that are present all over the body may become weak due to this condition.

Because of the weakness in the muscles, the affected person may tend to fall down easily. He or she may also find it difficult to carry out simple activities. With this condition, even buttoning the shirt can become a difficult ordeal. The affected person may also experience some breathing problems. He or she may not be able to chew or swallow food and water. This occurs because of the fact that the muscles that are present around the throat or chest can become extremely weak.

The weakened muscles not only reduce the activity of the body parts but also give rise to some other problems. Lack of activity in the body parts result in the loss of muscular tissue from the body. This causes muscle wasting which is quite a grave problem. When the muscles and joints remain out of order for quite some time, then the person may get cramps.

Muscle twitching is also a very common symptom of motor neuropathy. In the most extreme cases of peripheral neuropathy, paralysis of the body muscles may occur. This may happen because the patient may not be able to move the body parts for a long period of time.

Autonomic Symptoms

Autonomic neuropathy occurs if the affected nerves are autonomic in nature. Fainting and dizziness are the most common symptoms of this kind of neuropathy. The affected person may have episodes of low blood pressure level which can have a drastic impact on the body. This happens because the body of the patient is unable to control the blood pressure.

Abnormalities can be found in the pulse rate also. Abnormality in sweating is common in patients who suffer from autonomic neuropathy. The affected person may also find it difficult to tolerate high temperatures. Peripheral neuropathy of this kind leads to incontinence in the patients since they no longer have control over their bladder.

Constipation and diarrhea are also very common in patients of autonomic neuropathy. Male patients of this neuropathy are unable to achieve erections. The saddest part is that autonomic neuropathy is most difficult to treat.

It is advisable to consult a doctor for neuropathy treatment when the symptoms of neuropathy occur. Patients who suffer from diabetes or high blood pressure should give special attention to these symptoms as the peripheral neuropathy is common in patients with these conditions.

...Timely Diagnosis

Most types of peripheral neuropathies are chronic disorders. This is why the disease may start with symptoms like occasional numbness of the feet and hands, tingling sensation in the limbs or very fine tremors of the hands. Unfortunately these symptoms may progress to a more debilitating form of peripheral neuropathy.

About Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy is a large group of disorders. For correct and timely treatment of any type of peripheral neuropathy, immediate diagnosis of the pathology is extremely important. To reach the correct diagnoses of the peripheral neuropathy your physician may use some or all of the following diagnostic tools.

History: This is all about knowing and understanding the extent and nature of the problem. All information that a patient can give to his or her physician is included under the category of history. A good physician will likely to reach the cause of the disease by asking question about any recent exposure to toxic materials, unhygienic conditions, or a negative work environment.

Clinical Examination: The next stop for a neurophysician is the clinical examination. History and clinical examination are the two basic pillars of diagnosis. More than 80 percent of cases can be diagnosed correctly by history and physical exam only. Your physician may notice some characteristic features of a disease that will be suggestive of the final diagnosis.

Investigation: There are certain investigations that your physician may need before he can give you a definite diagnosis. CT scan, MRI and electromyography are priceless investigations for the correct diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy. Your physician can actually see the site of injury on these medical imageries that can greatly help in the provision of optimum treatment for the condition.

When you have been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, the physician will then recommend the most viable treatment strategy for your peripheral neuropathy.

Most Common Peripheral Neuropathy Treatments
Peripheral neuropathy treatment depends on the cause of the disorder. It is your physician’s responsibility to determine the cause of neuropathy. For example, if your neuropathy is caused by the diabetes, you will have to control your blood sugar levels. If the underlying cause is immune diseases, treating that said disease stops the symptoms of neuropathy.

Since peripheral neuropathy is associated with chronic pain, oral medicines and topical creams are used to alleviate it. Capsaicin in cream form can be purchased over the counter as an immediate solution to pain. Stronger oral medicines like antidepressants, antiseizure meds, and anticonvulsants are also prescribed for pain.

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