Peripheral neuropathy refers to conditions that occur when the peripheral nerves are damaged or destroyed and are unable to send or receive messages from the brain and spinal cord to other parts of the body.
The peripheral nerves are found outside of the central nervous system (CNS) which extends to other parts of the body. The major function of the peripheral nerves is to connect the brain and spinal cord to the limbs, skin, muscle and other internal organs of the body. Communication between the brain and other components of the body becomes impossible when these nerves are damaged or diseased.
Peripheral neuropathy often influences sensation nerves. As a consequence, in the distribution of impacted nerves, people with peripheral neuropathy usually develop different symptoms based on the type and the part of the body affected. This is most frequently in the arms and/or legs and can cause the toes or fingers to tingle, numbness, and/or burn.
Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
Repetitive Stress – Any physical or mental activity that stresses an individual’s nerve longer than normal increases the chances for peripheral neuropathy development. Some jobs can be tasking and can drain your brainpower or energy faster than you could imagine. Have a simple to follow a task plan and schedule. This will help you be productive, organize and reduce stress drastically. Avoid rigorous exercises or playing musical instruments or using vibrating power tools as they can mount pressure on peripheral nerves and cause nerve irritation and damage.
Diabetes – Over the years diabetes has been linked to high blood sugar levels, and high levels of fats, such as triglycerides, in the blood. This also can have a dangerous or damaging effect on your peripheral nerves. Research has it that up to 60% to 70% of people with diabetes are eventually going to develop peripheral neuropathy. However, a solution study showed that people with diabetes can reduce their risk of developing nerve damage by keeping their blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible.
Physical injury (trauma)– Among other causes of peripheral neuropathy, injury happens to be the most common. Physical injuries can be sustained from Automobile accidents, falls, sports, and many other activities which can affect or detach, nerves from the spinal cord
Traumas that may appear mild can still affect and damage peripheral nerves. Broken or dislocated bones that resulted from accidents can put damaging pressure on other nerves thereby posing severe risk chances of peripheral neuropathy.
Hormonal imbalances – can disturb normal metabolic processes, leading to swollen tissues that can press on peripheral nerves.
Hereditary Neuropathy – A hereditary neuropathy is passed on genetically from parent to child. Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is the most prevalent hereditary neuropathy, affecting both motor and sensory nerves. In the United States, one in every 2,500 individuals is affected by CMT. CMT further causes weakness that occurs in the foot and lower leg muscles. This leads to deformities, making it difficult to walk and usually result in falls. Currently, there is no cure for hereditary neuropathy but prevention.
Too much alcohol intake – Excessive drinking of alcohol can cost the body of essential nutrients and further affect the nervous system – causing numbness of the arms and legs.
Chemotherapy drugs – About30 to 40 percent of people who used Chemotherapy drugs to treat cancer were diagnosed with polyneuropathy while others who used different chemotherapy drugs had it cause neuropathy. However, symptoms of peripheral neuropathy caused by Chemotherapy drugs may continue for a long time after discontinuing chemotherapy. Radiation treatment can also cause harm to the nerves, sometimes after months or years.
Nutritional or Vitamin deficiency – Peripheral neuropathy may occur as a result of malnutrition, which could result from poor nutrition caused by an unbalanced diet. Also a lack or inadequate levels of vitamins, like vitamin E, B-1, (thiamin) B- 6, B- 9 and B-12, makes peripheral nerves not to function as supposed – Thus causing peripheral neuropathy.
Medical Conditions – Certain types of the kidney(chronic kidney or renal failure) disease and liver disease, or genetic diseases with painful symptoms and conditions can increase the risk chances of an individual developing peripheral nerve damage.
Infections – The nerves and tissues can be attacked by several infections – thus leading to neuropathy. Viruses like Lyme, Varicella-zoster, West Nile virus, and herpes simplex target sensory fibers, attacks and causes Peripheral neuropathy.
Additional virus that can extensively damage the peripheral nervous systems is the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. A research reported that about 30 percent of HIV-positive people developed peripheral neuropathy while 20 percent develop distal (away from the center of the body) neuropathic pain.
Autoimmune neuropathy – Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, celiac disease, and Guillain-Barre syndrome, can attack peripheral nerves – thus causing Neuropathies.
Exposure to Toxins – Peripheral neuropathy can result from exposure to toxins substances, poisons or chemicals. Common toxins substances that cause neuropathy include exposure to lead, mercury, arsenic, and thallium. Some organic insecticides and solvents can result in neuropathies as well (The Foundation for Peripheral neuropathy). Sniffing glue or other toxic compounds can also cause peripheral neuropathy. Certain cancer or AIDS medications can affects the nerves. Also, those Chinese herbal medicines, that are rich in mercury and arsenic can lead to peripheral neuropathy when you take them.
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
- Sleep disruptions
- Pain that is often worse at night
- Muscle cramping and/or twitching
- Muscle weakness
- Changes in skin, hair, or nails
- Insensitivity to pain and/or temperature
- Loss of sensation or feeling in body parts
- Loss of muscle and bone
- Emotional instability
- Difficulty eating food especially solid foods
- Difficulty breathing or irregular heartbeat
- Inability to sweat properly, leading to heat intolerance
- Loss of bladder control, leading to infection or incontinence
- Dizziness, light headache, or fainting because of a loss of control over blood pressure
- Diarrhea, constipation, or incontinence related to nerve damage in the intestines or digestive tract
- Loss of balance or other functions as a side effect of the loss of feeling in the legs, arms, or other body parts.
Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may look life-threatening or problematic. It may also take days, weeks, or years to develop. However, in a few cases, symptoms may experience improvement without specialist care. But if you did not notice positive changes after a few days, it is important you visit health experts for proper diagnosis.
What diagnosis is there for a Neuropathy patient?
There are several tests and exams available for neuropathy patients. Although it dependents on the symptoms a patient presented before the doctor. To ascertain if neuropathy is present, its severity and cause would involve a thorough medical history and physical examination.
Medical history – Your doctor (or a referred neurologist) will start by getting a history from you of how it started, symptoms duration, work environment, social habits or lifestyles, exposure to toxins, alcohol use, HIV or risk of infectious diseases, and family history of neurological diseases.
You may most likely be asked to do a number of physical tests to determine the location and extent of your nerve damage. The physical exam is likely to include a neurological exam to check tendon reflexes, muscle strength and tone, and the ability to sense vibration, light touch, Spinal fluid tests, body position, temperature, and pain.
The result of the neurological test will determine if you will be asked to go for the following tests;
Genetic tests -to detect if it’s hereditary.
Nerve conduction tests – to evaluate nerve transmission and measure the degree of damage in large nerve fibers (both sensory and motor).
Electromyography (EMG) – to detect abnormal electrical activity in muscles and help differentiate between muscle and nerve disorders.
Other nerve function tests – may include tests to record autonomic nerve function, a sweat test, and tests that record the ability to sense touch, vibration, cooling, and heat.
Nerve biopsy – to evaluate the damage to nerve fibers.
Skin biopsy – to determine the number of nerve endings present and identify damage in small nerve fibers.
Additional tests that may be ordered
The additional test you may be ordered to do to determine the nature and extent of the neuropathy includes: Blood Glucose tests , Comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), Vitamins Tests, Thyroid panel, Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis, autoimmune disorders test, shingles (varicella-zoster virus) , Lyme disease, HIV/AIDS, cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus, and syphilis, Heavy metal tests for toxins, Complete blood count (CBC), Serum protein electrophoresis (SPEP) followed by immunofixation electrophoresis (IFE), Paraneoplastic antibodies and many others depending on the severity of the condition.
What treatment are available?
Treatment is wholly dependent on the type of nerve damaged, cause/s, symptoms, and location of the damaged nerve. However, the purpose of neuropathy treatment is to manage the underlying cause of the condition and relieve symptoms drastically.
In some cases, if the cause (e.g vitamin B deficiency) of the condition is treatable, symptoms may resolve over time and nerves regenerated after using vitamin B supplements. But if the cause is beyond vitamin B deficiency, then patients may sort for NeuraVite Supplement.
Over the years medical professionals including neurologists have been on the search for peripheral neuropathy cure and just recently, A cure solution surfaced – NeuraVite.
According to Medical Research Institutes, the NeuraVite supplement has a combination of vitamin and essential fatty acid that addresses both the symptoms and causes of neuropathy by nourishing the nerves. The supplement can treat both vitamin B deficiency neuropathy and other causes of the condition.
Many Doctors, particularly neurologists and diabetic specialists who treat patients with peripheral neuropathy on a daily basis recommend NeuraVite as a safe, and effective natural treatment for peripheral neuropathy. They further agreed that it does not make a patient become habitual or form a habit around it so long as the patient keep complying with the one dose daily treatment prescription till symptoms are totally eliminated.
- Maintain good blood glucose level – control your diabetes by lowering your blood sugar levels Naturally.
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol.
- Eat foods high in vitamin B especially B12.
- Avoid long-term stress.
- Stop chemotherapy medication immediately you notice symptoms.
- Drink enough water to help aid kidney health.
- Lose weight – by eating a balanced diet and cutting down junk.
- Exercise regularly – Stretch often, stay physically active, walk sometimes to reduce pressure on nerves.
- Eliminate exposure to toxins.
- Treat injuries on time.
- Protect body parts that have diminished the ability to feel pain, heat, cold, and vibration from injury.
- Support affected body parts with, for example, braces or orthopedic shoes.
- Monitor affected areas frequently and promptly address problems such as skin redness and sores that may worsen and become infected.
- Take pain medication– For severe pain, take over the counter pain medication or prescription drugs used for peripheral neuropathy, on a regular basis—rather than waiting until nighttime when symptoms can become more severe.