Monday, 12 June 2017

New Book About Small-Fibre Neuropathy

Today's post from (see link below) both introduces a new book on the subject and goes some way to explaining the difference between small fibre neuropathy and other forms of nerve damage. It's important to realise that probably the vast majority of doctors will listen to your story, perform a series of standard tests and then diagnose you with peripheral neuropathy but go no further. You then embark on a course of medication and work your way through the list until something helps reduce the symptoms. Whether your neuropathy is 'small-fibre', 'large fibre' or 'mixed fibre', is of little interest to them because the ensuing symptoms and courses of treatment are pretty much the same, whatever the sort. Are they wrong to do that? No, not really. As neuropathy treatment advances, treatments and medications will become more specifically targeted at types of nerve damage but currently that's not the case, so knowing whether you have small fibre or something else will have little effect on the outcome. Nevertheless, perhaps we deserve better diagnoses than just a blanket term of neuropathy and despite the costs of further testing, we probably have the right to know precisely what our condition entails. Articles and books such as this one will help educate people to demand a little more from their doctors.

New Neuropathy Book: Small Nerves, Big Problems

By Sysy Morales June 9th, 2017


A new book on small fiber neuropathy called Small Nerves, Big Problems has been written by a group of 8 neurologists from across the country in an effort to help educate on the latest information available regarding how to diagnose and treat this common complication.

This book states it is “a comprehensive patient guide to small fiber neuropathy”. I got in touch with two of the book’s authors in order to learn more about small fiber neuropathy and how their book can help.

I asked why they decided this book was important to write. Dr. Todd D. Levine, the Director of the PNA Center for Neurologic Research wrote that “This is a common diagnosis and the incidence seems to be growing with new diagnostic tests. Before this book there was not a single resource for patients suffering from Small Fiber Neuropathy. Also many neurologists are not that familiar with this diagnosis, so patients were not always getting the best information about the prognosis and treatments. We thought by gathering national experts we could help fill this void.”

Dr. David S. Saperstein, Co-Director of GBS/CIDP Center of Excellence, Phoenix Neurological Associates, and Clinical Professor of Neurology at the University of Arizona School of Medicine in Phoenix added that “In our practice we see many patients with small fiber neuropathy who had not been appropriately diagnosed or treated. We realized there was a large need for a way to educate patients and physicians about this.”

What is Small Fiber Neuropathy?

Dr. Saperstein explains that in layman terms, “Neuropathy is any condition that damages nerves. Our nerves are made up of fibers of different sizes. Each fiber size carries out specific functions. In most cases, neuropathy affects nerve fibers of all sizes (called “mixed fiber neuropathy”).”

However, only the smallest fibers are affected with small fiber neuropathy and he writes that this is important because, “small fiber neuropathy symptoms can be different from those caused by other types of neuropathy (for example, they can be more intermittent or widespread). Also, the tests most commonly used to diagnose neuropathy, such as nerve conduction studies and EMG, are normal in small fiber neuropathy. Special testing is needed to identify small fiber neuropathy.”

Dr. Levine states that when damage occurs to the smallest nerves in one’s arms or legs, “these nerves control our sensation” and the damaged nerves then “send abnormal signals which can cause symptoms of numbness, tingling, burning, pain etc.”
Is Small Fiber Neuropathy Common?

It is, write doctors Levine and Saperstein. Dr. Levine states that certain tests have only been available for the past 10-15 years making it difficult to know how prevalent it is but he estimates that “there are probably over 1 million people in the US with small fiber neuropathy.”

Dr. Saperstein notes that neuropathy is more common in the elderly “found in 8 out of every 100 people over age 70.”

Dr. Levine explains that people with pre-diabetes, type 1 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes are all capable of developing small fiber neuropathy as diabetes of any kind is the most common cause of the complication.

Dr. Saperstein adds that “Up to two-thirds of people with diabetes will develop some form of peripheral neuropathy. Many of them will have small fiber neuropathy. In many cases this will remain small fiber but in other cases it will evolve into a mixed fiber neuropathy.”

He writes that any “unexplained numbness, tingling, burning, or even muscle pain, may represent small fiber neuropathy. Assessment by a physician knowledgeable about small fiber neuropathy is important so that proper diagnosis and treatment can occur.”

To help identify and seek diagnosis of small fiber neuropathy, this book is a complete guide that might even be shared with a healthcare provider. You can purchase this book online or download the e-book or call 219-922-4868.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments welcome but advertising your own service or product will unfortunately result in your comment not being published.