Peripheral neuropathy is an ailment faced by many diabetic and cancer patients but can occur even outside these conditions. The purpose of the nervous system is to transmit information, feeling, and instructions between the brain and the body. The term ‘peripheral nerve’ refers to those nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to the skin, internal organs, and muscles. When damage to the nervous system exists, communication can be impeded, limiting movement and sensation in the affected areas. Some patients of peripheral neuropathy will also experience pain as part of the condition.
Is There More Than One Kind Of Peripheral Neuropathy?
Yes. While they all result from the same form of damage, the location of that damage and the areas affected are identified by different names. Carpal tunnel, for example, is a form of peripheral neuropathy resulting from repetitive motion. These conditions are particularly common in those over the age of 55 but can occur in patients of any age. Your physician will let you know what your specific type of peripheral neuropathy is called and what its symptoms and treatments are.
What Symptoms Indicate A Peripheral Neuropathy?
Tingling, loss of sensation, numbness, and burning sensations are all commonly reported in patients experiencing peripheral neuropathy. These symptoms can lead to dangerous situations due to the resulting lack of sensation. Patients with peripheral neuropathy may not recognize that they’ve been injured, or may burn themselves due to the inability to detect temperature in an affected area. Loss of bladder or bowel control, sexual dysfunction, constipation, low blow pressure, and other conditions can all be symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.
What Is Peripheral Neuropathy Caused By?
What causes a peripheral neuropathy is dependent on the specific type being discussed. Broadly speaking, these neuropathies are broken into three categories – Acquired, hereditary, and idiopathic. Idiopathic neuropathies are those where the cause remains unknown.
Acquired Neuropathy – This type of neuropathy has multiple causes, including diabetes, alcoholism, poor nutrition, certain medications, cancer, kidney disease, AIDS, etc.
Hereditary Neuropathy – This type of neuropathy is not common, but include conditions that are passed to a child from one or more of their parents. One of the most prevalent is Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1, which results in the arms and legs experiencing weakness.
These include just some of the potential causes of peripheral neuropathy. Your physician will help you determine what the specific source of your condition is.
If you have more questions about peripheral neuropathy or are concerned you may be experiencing symptoms associated with it, call Dr. Steber for an appointment today. You can reach our offices by dialing 570-657-6851 or stop by our clinic at 265 Pine Cove Ct in Lehighton, PA. Our team is proud to serve our local community and is ready to welcome you to our patient family. Early treatment of peripheral neuropathy can help restore freedom of movement, quality of life, and help you enjoy your favorite activities unimpeded. Don’t wait until the condition becomes severe to seek guidance; call for an appointment today!