Peripheral neuropathy is the medical name for a disorder that affects the peripheral nerves. Peripheral nerves simply refer to nerves that are not in the brain or spinal column.

Peripheral neuropathy, often shorted to just “neuropathy,” occurs when these peripheral nerves are damaged in some way.

Neuropathy can occasionally be effectively treated and even cured in some situations. If neuropathy cannot be cured, treatment focuses on treating and controlling symptoms and halting additional nerve damage.

You can take precautions to help avoid neuropathy or control it through diet, lifestyle, and treatment, even though the group of disorders is irreversible.

Common Signs and Symptoms Of Neuropathy

Neuropathy symptoms ultimately depend on the underlying cause and the individual, but they can feel the symptoms, including:

  • Temporary or permanent numbness
  • Tingling, prickling, or burning sensation
  • Increased sensitivity to touch
  • Pain
  • Muscle weakness or wasting
  • Paralysis
  • Dysfunction in organs or glands
  • Impairment to urination and sexual function

Causes Of Neuropathy

Identifying the exact cause of peripheral neuropathies might be challenging because there are so many potential culprits. There are three ways that neuropathies can develop:

  • Acquired neuropathies are caused by environmental factors such as:
  • Diabetes
  • Several rare inherited diseases
  • Alcoholism
  • Poor nutrition or vitamin deficiency
  • Certain kinds of cancer and chemotherapy used to treat them
  • Certain medications
  • Kidney or thyroid disease
  • Infections such as Lyme disease, shingles, or AIDS
  • Hereditary neuropathies are peripheral nerve disorders that are inherited from parents to children. The insulation that ordinarily surrounds the nerves and aids in the conductance of the electrical impulses necessary for the nerves to induce muscular movement is degenerating, which is the underlying cause of this condition.
  • Idiopathic neuropathies are the type where the causes are unknown.

Neuropathy symptoms can differ depending on the kind of neuropathy and the location of the affected nerve.

Acute neuropathy refers to symptoms that arise quickly, whereas chronic neuropathy refers to symptoms that appear gradually over time.

While some peripheral neuropathies develop gradually over months or even years, others do so more quickly and worsen over time. Each of the over 100 different forms of neuropathies has a unique potential course of development. 

Depending on the type of nerve or nerves affected and the underlying cause of the ailment, the course of your condition and the speed at which your symptoms appear can vary substantially.

Risk Factors And Prevention

Adults over 65 who report having neuropathy on some level make up about 8% of the population. Aside from age, metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes) and heavy alcohol consumption are some of the most prevalent risk factors for Neuropathy in the United States.

Choosing a healthy lifestyle can help avoid or lessen the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. Your nerves will benefit from a balanced, healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat protein. 

Another strategy to improve your general fitness and well-being, as well as the health of your nerves, is to engage in moderate to vigorous exercise for 30 to 60 minutes three or more times per week (with your doctor’s consent). Additionally, it’s crucial to stay away from risk factors, including heavy drinking, smoking, and repetitive motions in small spaces.

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