Neuropathy, peripheral

Other names: Peripheral neuropathy

DEFINITION

Peripheral neuropathy, a result of damage to your peripheral nerves, often causes weakness, numbness, and pain, usually in your hands and feet. It can also affect other areas of your body. Your peripheral nervous system sends information from your brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) to the rest of your body. Peripheral neuropathy can result from traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems, inherited causes, and exposure to toxins. One of the most common causes is Diabetes mellitus. People with Peripheral neuropathy generally describe the pain as stabbing or burning. Often, there's tingling. In many cases, symptoms improve, especially if caused by a treatable underlying condition. Medications can reduce the pain of Peripheral neuropathy.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms depend on the type of nerves affected:

CAUSES

Factors causing Neuropathies include alcoholism, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, exposure to poisons, medications, infections, inherited disorders, trauma/nerve pressure, tumors, vitamin deficiencies, bone marrow disorders, and other diseases.

RISK FACTORS

Risk factors for peripheral neuropathy include diabetes mellitus, alcohol abuse, vitamin deficiencies (especially B vitamins), infections (Lyme disease), autoimmune diseases (Rheumatoid arthritis), kidney/liver/thyroid disorders, exposure to toxins, repetitive motion jobs, and family history of neuropathy.

Complications:
Complications may include burns/skin trauma due to lack of sensation leading to injury and infections.

When to see a doctor:
Seek medical care if you notice unusual tingling, weakness or pain in your hands or feet for early diagnosis and treatment.

QUESTIONS

  1. What is peripheral neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is damage to peripheral nerves causing weakness and pain.

  1. What are the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?

Symptoms include numbness/tingling in hands/feet and muscle weakness.

  1. What are the common causes of peripheral neuropathy?

Causes include diabetes mellitus, alcoholism, autoimmune diseases.

  1. What are the risk factors for developing peripheral neuropathy?

Risk factors include diabetes mellitus, alcohol abuse, infections.

  1. How can one manage underlying conditions contributing to peripheral neuropathy?

Manage conditions like diabetes through medication and lifestyle changes.

  1. What are some complications of peripheral neuropathy?

Complications may include burns/skin trauma due to lack of sensation.

  1. What treatments are available for relieving peripheral neuropathy pain?

Treatments include pain relievers, anti-seizure medications.

  1. How can lifestyle choices help in managing peripheral neuropathy?

Healthy diet/exercise choices can keep nerves healthy and prevent deficiencies.

  1. Are there alternative therapies for managing symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?

Alternative treatments like acupuncture and alpha-lipoic acid may help reduce symptoms.

  1. When should someone seek medical care for symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?

Seek medical care if unusual tingling/weakness/pain in hands or feet is noticed for early diagnosis and treatment.

Conclusion:

Peripheral neuropathy can be caused by various factors and presents with specific symptoms depending on the type of nerves affected. Early diagnosis and management are crucial in controlling symptoms and preventing complications associated with this condition.

References:

Mayo Clinic: Peripheral Neuropathy Overview

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke