Peripheral Neuropathy Definition, signs & symptoms, Home Remedies

Peripheral Neuropathy Definition, signs & symptoms, Home Remedies

1. Definition of peripheral neuropathy
2. Types of peripheral neuropathy
3. Peripheral neuropathy signs & symptoms
4. Causes of peripheral neuropathy
5. Peripheral neuropathy risk factors
6. Peripheral neuropathy diagnosis
7. Peripheral neuropathy treatment
8. Home remedies for peripheral neuropathy

Definition of peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy, also known as peripheral neuropathy, is a term that describes damage to the peripheral nerves outside the brain and spinal cord.

This condition often causes weakness, numbness, and pain in your hands, feet, and other areas of your body.

The peripheral nervous system sends information from the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) to all other areas of the body. On the other hand, peripheral nerves also send sensory information to the central nervous system.

The peripheral nervous system may occur from trauma due to injury, infection, metabolic disorders, to hereditary diseases. However, one of the most common causes is diabetes.
Usually, people who have problems with the peripheral nervous system will feel pain like burning or stinging. However, the pain that is felt can be reduced, especially if it is caused by a condition that can be treated with medication.

How common is peripheral neuropathy?

There are about 1.6% to 8.2% of the population who experience this disease and it often occurs in diabetic patients. This can be controlled by reducing risk factors. Please consult your doctor for more information.

Types of peripheral neuropathy

After knowing what peripheral neuropathy is, it’s time for you to understand the types of peripheral nerve disease. In fact, there are more than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy found.

Each type has different symptoms. Usually, the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are determined by the type of nerve being damaged.

The following are peripheral nerves and their functions that may be damaged when you have peripheral neuropathy. Among others are:

1. Motor nerves

Nerves that control the movement of all muscles in the body that are voluntary, such as those used to walk, reach for objects, or speak.

2. Sensory nerves

Sensory nerves function to transmit information such as the feeling of being touched, feeling the temperature, or the pain of an injury.

3. Autonomic Nerves

These nerves control the body’s organs to regulate activities that cannot be controlled consciously, such as breathing, digesting food, and carrying out liver and gland functions.

Most neuropathy can affect all three types of nerves with varying degrees of severity, but some types affect only one to two types of nerves.

Doctors commonly use the terms dominant motor neuropathy, sensory dominant neuropathy, sensori-motor neuropathy, or autonomic neuropathy to describe a variety of different conditions.

Peripheral neuropathy signs & symptoms

Each nerve in your peripheral system has a specific function, so the symptoms that appear also depend on the type of nerve affected.

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:

1. Muscle weakness.
2. A burning sensation in the hands or feet that over time can spread to the arms and calves.
3. Pain that feels like burning.
4. More sensitive to touch.
5. Pain that occurs when doing activities that don’t usually cause pain.
6. Loss of coordination and prone to falls.
7. Paralysis.

Meanwhile, you may also feel some of the following symptoms, if the autonomic nerves are damaged:

1. Can not withstand the temperature or hot air.
2. Cannot sweat or sweat excessively.
3. Difficulty passing urine or digesting food.
4. Changes in blood pressure, causing dizziness or lightheadedness such as floating.

When should I see a doctor?

You should call your doctor if you feel any of the following:

1. Symptoms worsen or do not improve after treatment.
2. New symptoms appear.

According To AskDoctorJo

Causes of peripheral neuropathy

There are many causes of peripheral neuropathy, such as:

1. Diabetes

One of the main causes of this peripheral nerve disorder is diabetes, both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. This condition is called diabetic polyneuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy may occur because blood sugar levels that are too high in the blood damage the blood vessels that supply blood to the nervous system.

The longer you have diabetes, the higher your risk of developing peripheral neuropathy. Diabetics have a higher risk of polyneuropathy if their blood sugar levels are not controlled, or if they have other contributing factors, such as smoking or drinking alcohol, and being over 40 years old.

2. Physical injury (trauma)

In addition to diabetes, physical injury can cause injury to the nerves. For example, injuries from vehicle accidents, falls, sports, and various medical procedures can stretch, crush, or compress nerves.

Even minor trauma can cause serious nerve damage. Not only that, broken bones or sprains can also cause damage to the surrounding nerves.

3. Autoimmune problems

Autoimmune disorders and infections can also cause peripheral neuropathy. For example, Guillain-Barre syndrome, lupus, rheumatism, and Sjogren’s syndrome, are autoimmune disorders that can cause peripheral neuropathy.

Meanwhile, infections such as chickenpox, HIV, herpes, syphilis, Lyme disease, leprosy, Epstein-Barr virus, and hepatitis C can also cause neuropathy.

4. Blood vessel disorders

Blood vessel disorders or blood disorders can cause a decrease in oxygen supply to peripheral nerves and lead to nerve tissue damage.

Therefore, diabetes, smoking habits, and narrowing of blood vessels that occur due to high blood pressure or atherosclerosis can cause peripheral neuropathy.

This is because the thickened walls of blood vessels and wounds can block blood flow and cause nerve damage.

5. Tumor

Tumors, both cancer-causing and non-cancerous, can form in the nervous system or press on nearby nerves, causing peripheral neuropathy.

Not only that, Paraneoplastic syndrome, or degenerative health problems that occur due to the body’s immune system response to cancer, can also cause nerve damage in various areas of the body.

6. Hormone imbalance

Hormone imbalance can interfere with normal metabolic processes. If this is the case, the condition can cause swelling of the tissue that can compress the peripheral nerves, causing peripheral neuropathy.

7. Kidney and liver disorders

Kidney and liver disorders can cause an increase in the amount of toxic substances in the blood that can lead to nerve tissue damage. Most people on dialysis for kidney failure develop some type of polyneuropathy.

8. Use of chemotherapy drugs

Chemotherapy drugs that are usually consumed to treat various types of cancer can cause polyneuropathy in 30-40% of users. However, only certain chemotherapy drugs can cause neuropathy and not everyone gets them.

Unfortunately, peripheral neuropathy that results from the use of chemotherapy drugs can last for a long time, even if you are no longer on chemotherapy.

Not only that, radiation therapy can also cause damage to the nervous system, but it will only happen after months or years after undergoing radiation.

9. Alcohol addiction

For those of you who are addicted to alcohol, the risk of developing peripheral nerve disorders will increase. The reason is, alcohol can cause neuropathy in two ways.

First, alcohol directly poisons the nerves. Then, alcohol addiction makes people tend to have a bad lifestyle. This causes a lack of nutritional intake, resulting in a deficiency of B vitamins and other nutrients that are important for nerve function.

Peripheral neuropathy risk factors

There are many factors that increase the risk of nerve damage, including peripheral neuropathy, such as:

1. Diabetes, especially if blood sugar control is poor.
2. Alcohol abuse.
3. Lack of vitamins, especially B vitamins.
4. Infections such as Lyme disease, smallpox, Epstein-Barr virus infection, hepatitis C and HIV.
5. Autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, in which the immune system attacks the tissues in your own body.
6. Diseases of the kidneys, liver or thyroid gland.
7. Exposure to poison.
8. Repetitive movement while doing an activity or job.
9. Family medical history related to neuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy diagnosis

The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor.

What are the most common tests to diagnose this condition?

The doctor will prepare a diagnosis based on clinical records and examinations. Apart from that, you can also perform other tests to confirm the diagnosis and find the cause such as:

1. Magnetic resonance image (MRI) of the brain and spine.
2. Nerve conduction examination.
3. Electromyography (EMG).
4. Nerve biopsy.
5. Skin biopsy.
6. Lumbar puncture.

Peripheral neuropathy treatment

According To AskDoctorJo More Life Health Seniors Peripheral Neuropathy Exercise Routine

The goal of treating peripheral neuropathy is to control the cause and relieve the symptoms. Treatment for this condition is very diverse, ranging from the use of drugs, and therapy, to alternative medicine, such as the following:

1. Use of drugs

Drugs that can be consumed to reduce the symptoms that appear:

1. Pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the pain or discomfort you feel.
2. Antiseizure drugs, such as gabapentin and pregabalin are used to treat nerve pain.
3. Topical medications such as capsaicin cream can reduce the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.
4. Antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, doxepin and nortriptyline can relieve pain caused by chemical processes occurring in the brain or spinal cord.

2. Therapy

Not only drugs, you can also follow therapies and medical procedures that can relieve symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, such as:

1. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), performed by placing electrodes on the skin to conduct electricity at various frequencies, should be applied for 30 minutes every day for one month.
2. Plasma exchange and intravenous immune globulin, procedures that can help suppress immune system activity, are therefore beneficial for people who have inflammation.
3. Physical therapy, especially if you have muscle weakness.
4. Surgery, if the neuropathy is due to pressure on the nerves, you may need surgery to relieve pressure on the nerves.

3. Alternative medicine

You may not like taking drugs and feel more suited to alternative medicine. Well, there are several types of treatment that you can do to relieve symptoms, such as:

1. Acupuncture, which is done by inserting thin needles at specific points on the body to relieve symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. In order to make progress, you may have to undergo several acupuncture sessions.
2. Herbal remedies, such as primrose oil, can relieve neuropathy, especially in people with diabetes. However, make sure the use of this drug has been approved by your doctor.
3. Amino acids, such as acetyl-L-carnitine, which may provide benefit in people undergoing chemotherapy.

Home remedies for peripheral neuropathy

Quoted from the Mayo Clinic, here are suggestions you can follow to help you manage peripheral neuropathy:

1. Take care of your feet, especially if you have diabetes. Check daily for blisters, sores, or calluses. Wear soft, loose-fitting cotton socks and soft shoes.
2. Exercising. Ask your doctor about an exercise routine you can do. Regular exercise, such as walking three times a week, can reduce neuropathic pain, increase muscle strength, and help control blood sugar levels. Light routines like yoga and tai chi may also help.
3. Quit smoking. Smoking can affect circulation, increasing the risk of foot problems and other complications of neuropathy.
4. Eat healthy food. Eating healthy is essential to ensure that you are getting the essential vitamins and minerals. Consume low-fat meats and dairy products and include plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet.
5. Avoid excessive alcohol. Alcohol can worsen peripheral neuropathy.
6. Monitor your blood glucose levels. If you have diabetes, monitoring your blood glucose levels will help keep your blood sugar under control and may help heal your neuropathy.

Everyone can reduce the risk of peripheral neuropathy by maintaining a reasonable alcohol intake according to medical guidelines. A healthy balanced diet is also important to prevent nutritional deficiencies.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common cause of chronic peripheral neuropathy. Diabetes is more common in people who are overweight or obese.

Therefore, controlling weight can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. If you have diabetes or other medical problems that can cause peripheral neuropathy, good control of your condition can prevent neuropathy from developing.

If you have any questions, please consult your doctor. Usually, the doctor will help you to better understand your health condition, as well as find the best solution for your health.

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