Neuropathy or nerve damage can result from different conditions. The most common of these include diabetes and chemotherapy treatment. Neuropathy, also referred to as peripheral neuropathy, does not describe a single condition.
Instead, neuropathy describes a range of health conditions that involve peripheral nerve damage and the symptoms involved. The different conditions are irreversible, but one can take some steps to prevent neuropathy. There are ways to tell if you have neuropathy.
Some signs and symptoms can indicate that you have neuropathy. The symptoms depend on an individual and the underlying cause of the condition. They include:
Prickling, tingling, or a burning sensation.
Permanent or temporary numbness.
Pain and an increased sensitivity to touch.
Muscle wasting or weakness.
Dysfunction in glands or organs.
Impairment in sexual function and urination.
The body’s nervous system has two divisions—the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system. The peripheral nervous system sends messages between an individual’s central nervous system and the different parts of the body. The central nervous system includes the brain and the spinal cord.
The peripheral nervous system has a voluntary system that controls it. However, a person is aware of it and can control it. The involuntary or automatic nervous system regulates processes such as breathing, heartbeat, and digestion.
Disruption or damage to the voluntary and involuntary peripheral systems leads to neuropathy. Both the sensory and the motor nerve may be affected by the condition. Neuropathy can have different causes, including:
Poorly controlled diabetes, HIV, and chemotherapy.
In over 20 percent of cases, the cause of the neuropathy is unknown.
The type of neuropathy that a patient has depends on the location of the nerve damage. Mononeuropathy occurs when damage is only on one nerve. Polyneuropathy occurs when there are multiple nerves affected. The symptoms will depend on the nerves that are involved, whether sensory, autonomic, or motor nerves.
Autonomic nerve damage often affects blood pressure and bodily functions and can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms. Another type of neuropathy is distal symmetric polyneuropathy, a common condition among people with diabetes.
To find out if you have neuropathy, you need a proper diagnosis. If you have any of the symptoms above, you need to visit a healthcare provider for a diagnosis. The physician will take your medical history before conducting several tests.
The tests include electrodiagnostic testing, needle examinations, blood tests, a skin biopsy, and quantitative sensory testing (QST). The results of the diagnosis will determine whether you have the condition.
There are different treatment options for neuropathy. The options include medications, surgery, nerve stimulation, and alternative therapies. Proper nutrition can help treat issues related to neuropathy.
For more on neuropathy, visit South Bay Wellness Center at our office in San Jose, California. You can call (408) 642-6060 today to schedule an appointment.