Did you know that peripheral neuropathy may be why your fingers have been numb these past few days? Many causes can give you this disorder. Without prompt treatment of peripheral neuropathy, you might lose all control of your legs, arms, etc., or sensations or even develop problems in digestion. And you don’t want that to happen to you. For that, learn what causes peripheral neuropathy in this article.  

Neuropathy is a disorder where one or more peripheral nerves are damaged or dysfunctional, leading to a loss of control over various body parts. Damaged or dysfunctional peripheral nerves are not able to send or receive signals through the central nervous system to the spinal cord, which results in losing control over the functions of the organs.  

Peripheral neuropathy is caused by injury, trauma, infections, or getting exposed to toxins. Symptoms begin in one part of the body and develop slowly over time. Doctors give the treatment according to the cause of the nerve damage.  

Symptoms include: 

  • Tingling, sensation, and numbness, especially in hands and feet.  
  • Sharp and burning pain 
  • Loss of balance and coordination 
  • Muscle weakness and twitching 
  • Low blood pressure  
  • Abnormal heart rate 
  • Excessive sweating 
  • Digestive problems such as nausea, vomiting, and constipation.  
  • Sexual function problems
  • Weight loss

There is no cure available for peripheral neuropathy. Although, you can treat its symptoms with medication and therapy and slow down the process.  

What causes Peripheral neuropathy? 

Peripheral neuropathy is not caused by one single factor but by combinations of factors: 

  • Diabetes: the most common cause of neuropathy is Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes which causes diabetic polyneuropathy. This is caused by high blood sugar levels that damage the blood vessels which leads to damage to the nerves. It is one of the most common causes of neuropathy in America. Around 60 to 70% of people with diabetes get neuropathy. 1 out of 4 people also experiences pain due to nerve damage. 
  • Physical injury or trauma: Other known causes that give you neuropathy are injuries, accidents, fractures, and sports activities. Fractured bones, compressed nerves due to repetitive stress, or narrowed space between nerves can lead to neuropathy. Even the less severe traumas can cause nerve damage.  
  • Autoimmune disease: These diseases attack the nerves damaged/affected by recent infections. They can develop quickly or slowly, are less severe, or are chronic in nature. These diseases include Sjogren’s syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, and vasculitis. 
  • Infections: Infections affect nerve tissues and cause neuropathy. It includes – Lyme disease, shingles, Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis B and C, leprosy, diphtheria, and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). 
  • Inherited disorders: Diseases like Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, Familial amyloidosis, Fabry’s disease, and metachromatic leukodystrophy are hereditary diseases that can cause neuropathy. 
  • Vascular disorders: Neuropathy is caused when inflammation, blood clots, or blood vessel disorders start decreasing blood flow and oxygen to the nerves resulting in nerve damage or death of nerves. These vascular problems can be caused by vasculitis, smoking, or diabetes.  
  • Other diseases: There are some other diseases that can cause neuropathy including kidney disease, liver disease, connective tissue disorders, monoclonal gammopathy, and an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). 
  • Medications: Some medications such as antibiotics, anti-seizure medications, or some treatment medications such as HIV medications, cancer chemotherapy, or radiation can cause neuropathy.  
  • Exposure to toxins: Working in a chemical factory or working in fields can give you exposure to toxic substances such as heavy metals, industrial chemicals, and especially solvents can cause nerve damage.  
  • Excessive alcoholism: People who drink excessive alcohol can easily develop neuropathy and vitamin deficiencies.  
  • Vitamin deficiencies: there are some vitamins, if you develop their deficiency it can lead to neuropathy including – B vitamins – B1, B6, B12, Vitamin E, or niacin. 

What are the Risk Factors for developing Peripheral neuropathy? 

Risk factors for peripheral neuropathy include: 

  • Diabetes, particularly if your blood sugar levels are not under the control 
  • Misuse of alcohol 
  • Deficiency of vitamins, especially B vitamins 
  • Infections including HIV, hepatitis B and C, shingles, Epstein-Barr virus, and Lyme disease 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are autoimmune illnesses in which your immune system assaults your own tissues. 
  • Diseases of the kidney, liver, or thyroid 
  • Environmental poisons or toxins 
  • Family members that have neuropathy (heredity) 

Peripheral neuropathy is a disease that affects peripheral nerves that make you lose control over the parts of the body. There is no cure but noticing the symptoms and getting prompt treatment can help you to relieve your pain and reduce the effects of symptoms.  

Want to know more about its treatment and prevention?  Call us at 718-DORAL-55 to schedule an appointment today.