WHAT IS NEUROPATHY?
Neuropathy is a condition that is mostly associated with the nerves, particularly the peripheral nerves. This condition
arises as a result of nerve damage thereby leading to their dysfunction. The condition disrupts the normal functioning of these nerves. They may send signals to the brain about a pain without any cause or not send any pain signal to the brain.
There are three types of nerves that are affected by neuropathy;
- Sensory Nerves: These are nerves that are responsible for controlling sensation. Once affected, they may cause tingling, pain, weakness, and numbness of the feet and hands.
- Motor Nerves: These are nerves that are responsible for power and movement. Once they become affected, they end up causing weakness in both your hands and legs.
- Autonomic Nerves: These nerves are responsible for controlling the body system, e.g. gut, bladder etc. Once they are affected, they end up causing a change in the blood pressure, the heart rate and the sweating of the body.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF NEUROPATHY?
- Repetitive stress
- Vitamin deficiency
- Hormone imbalances
- Heart diseases
- Multiple sclerosis
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Chronic kidney diseases
- Chronic Liver diseases
- Lyme disease
- Connective tissues diseases
- Certain inflammatory diseases e.g. sarcoidosis
- There are two types of neuropathy:
- Mononeuropathy: This is a condition where only a single nerve is affected.
- Polyneuropathy: This is a condition where several nerves are affected.
WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF NEUROPATHY?
There are certain symptoms that are associated with neuropathy and may vary from individual to individual. There are those times when the nerves become hypersensitive. When this happens, all the things that ordinarily feel painless, like wind breeze, the bed sheet on your body, suddenly become painful.
Apart from pain, the damage to sensory nerves caused by neuropathy may have the following effects:
- Loss of reflexes
- Inability to detect changes in heat and cold
- Foot and leg ulcers
- Sharp pains that become worse at night
- Hair, skin and nail changes
- There are those extreme cases where neuropathy ends up causing paralysis and in other cases affect digestion and breathing process.
- However, it has been proved that the intensity and the severity of the pain depend on the severity of the underlying disease.
HOW IS NEUROPATHY TREATED?
Neuropathy can be a treatable and manageable condition. Lifestyle changes along with other options can be discussed with your physician.