Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy

The peripheral nervous system is responsible for transmission of information between the brain, spinal cord, and the rest of the body. Any damage or issue with these nerves can disrupt their natural function causing a host of symptoms such as pain, weakness, tingling, among others.

The diagnostic process of peripheral neuropathy comprises of over a hundred distinct types. Neurologists in Key West excel in this area of specialization. Apart from identifying the condition effectively, these experts possess the knowledge and skills to identify any underlying medical issues that may trigger neuropathic symptoms, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or nutrient imbalances.

What Causes Neuropathy

Neuropathy may be caused by varied reasons. In some cases, it may occur all of a sudden as a result of a trauma. Some individuals may experience it over time such as in case of a carpal tunnel syndrome. According to medical experts, in most cases, the cause may remain undetermined. The potential risk factors and causes of peripheral neuropathy may include the following:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Uncontrolled / poorly controlled diabetes
  • Tumors, cancer
  • Treatment for cancer (chemotherapy)
  • Kidney disease
  • Bone marrow disorders
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Shingles
  • Infectious disease
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Excess nutrient consumption
  • Medications
  • Repetitive motions
  • Accident or trauma

Symptoms

Neuropathy most often develops in the limbs ("peripheral neuropathy") and can cause hypersensitivity, numbness, tingling, burning, and prickling, stinging, or stabbing sensations. Patients may also experience weakness and unsteadiness. The skin over an affected area may change: it is often colder and has a different color, less hair, and is thinner than normal skin.

The development of neuropathy is most common in the limbs (also referred to as peripheral neuropathy). It can cause some uncomfortable sensations including the following:

  • Hypersensitivity
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Burning
  • Prickling
  • Stinging
  • Stabbing sensations
  • Weakness
  • Unsteadiness

Patients may experience changes in the affected areas such as different color of skin, reduced hair, and thinning of hair, colder skin etc.

Autonomic neuropathy is known to affect nerves responsible for supplying the internal organs and regulation of body functions including sweating, blood pressure, heart rate, sexual function, and bowel, and bladder. Some of the common symptoms of autonomic neuropathy include the following:

  • Urinary problems
  • Sexual problems
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fainting spells
  • Dry eyes and mouth

Types of Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is medically categorized into its cause, pain type, and branch of the nervous system it affects. The condition is categorized into the following types:

Mononeuropathy

The condition affects single nerve is affected. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the classic example.

Multiple Mononeuropathy

Two or more nerves are affected in different areas. A rare condition, a neuropathy in shoulder and one leg can be triggered at the same time by a car accident.

Polyneuropathy

A very common type of peripheral neuropathy, it affects many nerves at once. The condition commonly occurs after chemotherapy in the form of body aches and pains.

Distal Symmetric Polyneuropathy

It is common among diabetics and starts with the nerves (farthest away from the central nervous system, such as the feet). The symptoms travels upward and inward, affecting more regions with time.

Diagnosis

The early diagnosis and prompt treatment of neuropathy are essential, as failing to do so may result in persistent pain and weakness. At the Neuro Spine & Pain Center, a team of neurologists conducts a thorough assessment of each patient to identify the underlying cause of neuropathic symptoms. This evaluation comprises several tests, such as:

Physical and Neurologic Examination

Doctors also suggest Electrodiagnostic studies including the following:

Electromyography - It helps measure the electrical activity in muscles.

Nerve Conduction Studies – These help measure efficiency by which signals travel through nerves.

Q-SWEAT – The test measures the ability of autonomic nerves to facilitate sweating.

Skin Biopsy – A skilled neuropathologist will conduct the test to accurately measure the number of pain and temperature-sensitive or autonomic nerve fibers.

Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment in Key West

Peripheral neuropathy is a result of damage to the peripheral nerves which leads to symptoms including burning, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hands, feet, and other areas of the body. Some other possible causes of peripheral nerve damage include traumatic injuries, diabetes, and exposure to toxins. Neuro Spine & Pain Center offers effective treatments for peripheral neuropathy that aim to address the underlying causes and alleviate the symptoms.

Damaged nerve causes symptoms of peripheral neuropathy which start gradually and worsen with time. Medical professionals suggest maintaining a healthy lifestyle to help prevent of damage to those nerves.

If you wish to seek more information, or tips on how to prevent peripheral neuropathy, get in touch with us now.

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