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Peripher Neuropathy
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Peripheral neuropathy

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From MayoClinic.com

Peripheral neuropathy is a term used to describe disorders of your peripheral nervous system. Your peripheral nervous system includes nerves in your face, arms, legs, torso, and some cranial nerves. In fact, all of your nerves not located in your central nervous system - which includes the brain and the spinal cord - are peripheral nerves.

Neuropathies may affect just one nerve (mononeuropathy) or several nerves (polyneuropathy) . Your nerves provide communication between your brain and your muscles, skin, internal organs and blood vessels. When damaged, your nerves can't communicate properly, and that miscommunication causes symptoms such as pain or numbness.

Peripheral neuropathy often affects people with diabetes and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Certain vitamin deficiencies, some medications and alcoholism can also damage peripheral nerves.

Treating the underlying condition may relieve some cases of peripheral neuropathy. In other cases, treatment may focus on managing pain. Peripheral nerves have a remarkable ability to regenerate themselves, and new treatments using nerve growth factors or gene therapy may offer even better chances for recovery in the future.

Signs and symptoms

Neurologic symptoms may occur related to your central nervous system, which consists of your brain and spinal cord, or your peripheral nervous system, which links your spinal cord and brain to all other parts of your body. The extensive network of peripheral nerves helps your muscles contract (motor nerves) and allows you to feel a range of sensations (sensory nerves). In addition, your peripheral nerves help control some of the involuntary functions of the autonomic nervous system, which regulates your internal organs, sweat glands and blood pressure.

Unfortunately, peripheral nerves are fragile and easily damaged. Damage to a peripheral nerve can interfere with the communication between the area it serves and your brain, affecting your ability to move certain muscles or feel normal sensations. Your symptoms will depend on the cause of your neuropathy and on which nerve or nerves are involved.

If a sensory nerve is damaged, you're likely to experience symptoms that may include:

  • Pain

  • Numbness

  • Tingling

  • Burning

  • Loss of feeling

These symptoms often begin gradually. You may have a tingling sensation or numbness that starts in your toes or the balls of your feet and spreads upward. Tingling might also begin in your hands and extend up your arms. In some cases your skin may become so sensitive that the slightest touch is agonizing. You may also have numbness, or even a complete lack of feeling, in your hands or feet.

At times your symptoms may be barely noticeable, and some people go years without realizing anything is wrong. For others, symptoms are constant, and especially at night may be almost unbearable. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • The sensation that you're wearing an invisible glove or sock

  • Burning pain

  • Sharp, jabbing or electric-like pain

  • Extreme sensitivity to touch, even light touch

  • Lack of coordination

If your motor nerves are affected, you may have weakness or paralysis of the muscles controlled by those nerves. And if you have damage to nerves that control certain functions of the autonomic nervous system, you might have bowel or bladder problems, reduced sweating or impotence. You might also experience a sharp fall in your blood pressure when you stand up, which may cause you to faint or feel lightheaded.

 

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 

 



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