Monday, 15 August 2016

Even More You Need To Know About Neuropathy

Today's very informative post from (see link below) is the latest article about neuropathy; its causes and its types. Please don't yawn if you're an experienced neuropathy patient and think you've seen all this before because every article of this type tells you something new and helps build up an all-important understanding of what's happening to you. Apart from that, the fact that there are now so many general articles about neuropathy available means that finally, the world is waking up to the fact that there are millions of us out there suffering from a disease that nobody seems to have heard of. Spreading the word about nerve damage helps us in so many ways because it increases public understanding (and sympathy) and encourages new research and quicker developments in the treatment areas we're so frustrated by. Plus, it increases our own knowledge so that we can enter a doctor's consulting room with way more confidence than before.  Well worth a read.

Peripheral Neuropathy Causes And Types Of Neuropathy Category: 
Neurology: Multiple Sclerosis And More by Heidi Moawad, MD - May 7, 2016

What is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is a disease of the nerves. Most of the time, peripheral neuropathy is a gradual process that worsens over months or years. Typically, neuropathy takes weeks, or even months, to diagnose. If you have been told that you have neuropathy, you probably have a few questions.

Neuropathy means disease of the nerves. Nerves have two main jobs in the body; to give instructions for muscles to move and to detect physical sensations such as pain, temperature, touch, texture and vibration. When nerves are diseased or damaged, the result is muscle weakness, sensory disturbance, or both.

Typically, in neuropathy, it is the nerves of the hands, arms, legs and feet that are disrupted by the disease. The limbs of the body are usually referred to as the periphery, and this is why neuropathy is often referred to as peripheral neuropathy. However, there are there are other types of neuropathy.

Neuropathy is caused by injury to the protective layer of fat that covers the nerve or by injury to nerve itself. When a nerve is damaged, this is usually called axonal neuropathy. When the coating around a nerve, called myelin, is damaged, this is called demyelinating neuropathy. For the most part, axonal neuropathy and demyelinating neuropathy cause similar symptoms. But there are tests that can determine whether neuropathy is axonal neuropathy or demyelinating neuropathy, and this is useful information for identifying the cause of the neuropathy.

The most common early symptoms of neuropathy include numbness and tingling, which occur when a nerve is partially damaged. When a nerve is severely damaged, that causes loss of sensation, pain, and mild or moderate weakness. If a nerve is completely damaged, then that causes complete loss of sensation and paralysis (complete weakness).

Next: Causes and Types of Neuropathy

Types of neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy:
Nerves are distributed throughout the body, in the arms, legs, face and trunk. Most of the time, neuropathy affects the nerves of the arms or legs. This is typically called peripheral neuropathy, and it is by far the most common type of neuropathy.

Polyneuropathy: When more than one nerve is affected by neuropathy, this is called polyneuropathy. Polyneuropathy typically occurs when a disease of the body causes damage to the nerves.

Sometimes neuropathy affects one specific nerve or a few nerves in one isolated location of the body. For example, Bell’s palsy is a neuropathy that affects the facial nerve (the 7th cranial nerve) and produces weakness one side of the face. It usually happens without any cause or explanation and often improves on its own. Another mononeuropathy, peroneal nerve palsy, may occur as a result of pressure on a nerve in the leg.

Hereditary neuropathies: There are a few hereditary neuropathies. The most common of these is Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, which affects motor nerves and sensory nerves. The incidence is quite rare, and there is new genetic testing for this disease.

Causes of Neuropathy

There are a number of common causes of neuropathy.


Diabetes is the most common cause of neuropathy. Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes cause neuropathy due to the buildup of toxins in the body that damage nerves and blood vessels. The best way to manage diabetic neuropathy is by maintaining proper glucose control.


Alcoholic neuropathy is another common type of neuropathy. Frequent, heavy alcohol use results in the buildup of a number of toxins that damage nerves. In addition, chronic alcohol use also results in malnutrition that damages nerves.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Malnutrition can cause neuropathy due to a lack of essential vitamins and minerals. The most commonly identified vitamin deficiency that causes neuropathy is vitamin b12 deficiency.


There are a number of medications that cause neuropathy, usually as a result of direct damage to the nerves. Medications that cause neuropathy normally list neuropathy or peripheral neuropathy as possible side effects on the warning label.


Chemotherapy is a powerful medicine that is used to treat cancer and other diseases. Many chemotherapeutic medications are known to cause neuropathy as a side effect. Given the dangerousness of most types of cancer, peripheral neuropathy is often considered the lesser of two evils when chemotherapeutic medications are used.

Kidney failure

Because the kidneys remove toxins from the body, some individuals who suffer from kidney failure experience neuropathy as the complication of the build-up of toxins in the body. Many patients who undergo dialysis for kidney failure experience neuropathy due to the kidney failure.

Nerve Compression

Often, when a nerve is compressed due to pressure or swelling or injury, the nerve cannot receive adequate nutrients to function properly. This leads to a type of neuropathy called ‘compression neuropathy.’ The most common compression neuropathy is carpal tunnel syndrome, which results from overuse of the wrists that produces swelling of the area that surrounds the nerves of the wrists. The best way to manage compression neuropathy is to relieve the swelling through rest, ice, or surgery.

Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases cause the body to attack itself. Most of the time, autoimmune disease causes problems with joints and bones, but sometimes, autoimmune disease causes neuropathy. People who have neuropathy from autoimmune disease normally need to take anti-inflammatory medications such as steroids to control the autoimmune disease.


Some infections cause neuropathy. This is not a common cause of neuropathy, and it is often reversible once the infection is resolved.

Guillan-Barre Syndrome (GBS)

GBS is acute demyelinating polyneuropathy. This means that it occurs suddenly, a physiological process called demyelination causes it, and it affects multiple nerves. This serious disease may be life threatening. GBS causes weakness that begins in the feet, and then rapidly travels up the legs and weakens or paralyzes the breathing muscles, potentially causing death due to respiratory arrest. The treatment of GBS is focused on maintaining oxygen to the body through a ‘breathing machine,’ while strong immunosuppression is given to cure the GBS. Most people with GBS survive, but it is an emergency that requires intense medical management in a hospital intensive care unit until the disease is completely resolved.

Neuropathy is a fairly common condition that can be managed through medication once the cause is diagnosed.

1 comment:

  1. What is the relationship between peripheral neuropathy and restless legs syndrome?


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