Neuropathy is a condition caused by damage to the nerves on the outside of the brain and spinal cord, which can cause pain and weakness in the hands, feet, and other parts of the body.
This condition, also known as peripheral neuropathy, is characterized by affecting the normal function of the nerves, causing them to send pain signals at inappropriate times. Therefore, thanks to neuropathy, you could feel pain when you are not really experiencing it, and not feel pain when something or someone hurts you.
The peripheral nervous system connects the nerves in your spinal cord and brain to the rest of your body, including your:
· Internal organs
Your nervous system sends signals to your brain, telling you when danger or pain is imminent. Usually, a disturbance of the nervous system occurs due to:
· A wound
· An inherited disorder
· Systemic disease
While the damage to the nervous system causes discomfort, the good news is that it is very treatable. Your doctor will ask you questions about your health, such as previous injuries or infections, to determine the best course of treatment. If you have a serious underlying condition, this is definitely something you should tell your doctor as it could explain the cause of the nerve damage.
The different types of neuropathy
First of all, you need to know that you have three different types of peripheral nerves in your body: sensory nerves, which send signals to your skin, motor nerves, which connect to muscles, and autonomic nerves, which send messages to your internal organs.
Neuropathy can affect just one group of nerves or all three, and each type will have different symptoms and treatment schedules. In all, science identifies more than 100 different types of peripheral neuropathy.
These are classified by the type of nerve damage involved; Mononeuropathy occurs when there is damage to a single nerve, and polyneuropathies occur when multiple nerves are affected.
Common symptoms of neuropathy
· Tingling sensation most commonly felt in the hands or feet
· A feeling of compression around the hands or feet
· Sharp, stabbing pains
· Numbness in the limbs
· Feeling of weakness or heaviness in the hands or feet
· You feel like your arms or legs get locked
· Dropping things often
· Thinning of the skin
· Low blood pressure
· Erectile dysfunction in men
· Digestive problems
· Excessive sweating
Having these symptoms doesn't necessarily indicate nerve damage, but be sure to tell your doctor about them so they can make an accurate evaluation.
These are the top 5 causes of neuropathy:
While having a family history of nerve damage disorders increases the likelihood of developing them, there are other factors that can contribute to this condition as well. Next, we will go over some of the main causes of neuropathy.
1. Generalized diseases
Diseases like diabetes are known to increase the likelihood of developing nerve damage, as high blood glucose levels and high triglycerides can upset the nervous system. The development of neuropathy increases dramatically in people who:
· Have diabetes
· Are overweight or obese
· Have high blood pressure
· Are over 40 years old
According to statistics provided by the University of Chicago Center for Peripheral Neuropathy (UCCPN), about 60% of people with diabetes suffer from some type of nerve damage. This damage occurs most often from high blood sugar levels, although having high levels of fat in the blood can also contribute.
Nerve damage can also occur as a result of the following chronic diseases:
· Kidney disorders that cause toxins to build up in the body
· Hypothyroidism, which can lead to fluid retention and pressure around the nerves
· Chronic inflammation can spread to the nerves and cause damage to connective tissues.