Warning Signs Of Peripheral Neuropathy And When To Seek Medical Care

Date February 28, 2018

What is peripheral neuropathy?

Generally, peripheral neuropathy develops when your peripheral nerves don’t work properly. The peripheral nervous system connects the nerves from your brain and spinal cord with the rest of your body. These nerves do an important job delivering signals about physical sensations back to your brain. When they are damaged or destroyed, it leads to a disorder that is called peripheral neuropathy.

This condition changes the nerves’ normal functioning. In other words, they may send a pain signal when everything is okay, or on the contrary, they may not send signals of pain when something is harming your body.

Peripheral neuropathy may occur due to:

  • infections;
  • metabolic disorders;
  • inherited disorders;
  • traumatic injuries;
  • exposure to toxins.

The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes.

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The disorder usually results in burning, stabbing or tingling pain. In many cases, treatments can improve the symptoms.

Warning signs of peripheral neuropathy

The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy depend on what nerve group is affected. The most common signs include the following:

  • numbness or tingling in the hands or feet which can spread further and involve legs and arms;
  • sharp, burning, throbbing or freezing pain;
  • increased sensitivity to touch;
  • lack of coordination and falling;
  • muscle weakness or even paralysis when motor nerves are affected.

If peripheral neuropathy involves autonomic nerves, the symptoms may also include:

  • heat intolerance and excessive sweating;
  • digestive, bladder or bowel problems;
  • changes in blood pressure that result in lightheadedness or dizziness.

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Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that may affect one nerve, two or more nerves or more. Most people who suffer from this condition have polyneuropathy which means that many nerves don’t work properly at the same time.

When to seek medical care.

Visit your doctor as soon as possible if you notice unusual weakness, pain or tingling in your hands or feet. Proper diagnosis offers the best chances of improving your symptoms. Moreover, early treatment can prevent further damage to the peripheral nerves.

How to prevent peripheral neuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy is a serious condition that can lead to serious complications. Luckily, in many cases, it may be preventable. You should do everything possible to manage health problems that put you at risk, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes or alcoholism.

It is also necessary to maintain a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains to protect your nerves from vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Avoid things that may result in nerve damage, including smoking, exposure to toxic chemicals, repetitive motions, cramped positions, and alcohol abuse.

Source: MayoClinic, WebMD, Healthline

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This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.