Have you previously heard about Neuropathy? This is a neurological disorder that is defined by malfunctioning of the nerves. Nerves at different locations of the body can be damaged by a disease or an injury resulting in neuropathy. This disorder is generally defined according to the disease responsible for causing it. For instance, diabetic neuropathy is a disorder caused by diabetes.
Different type of Neuropathy
- Autonomic neuropathy: When the involuntary nervous system is damaged, the condition is referred to as autonomic neuropathy. It affects the blood pressure, bladder function, and sexual response.
- Focal neuropathy: This condition is restricted to a group of nerve or individual nerves. It can affect nerves of chest or back. Focal neuropathy is less common than autonomic or peripheral neuropathy.
- Cranial neuropathy: When any of the 12 cranial nerves are damaged, the condition is referred to cranial neuropathy. It can be divided into further types:
- Auditory Neuropathy.
- Optic Neuropathy.
- Diabetic Neuropathy.
This is a type of nerve damage, which usually occurs to people having high blood sugar. It can lead to damaged nerves in the legs and feet.
- Peripheral neuropathy: This is the condition when the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord are damaged. It affects the nerve of the extremities, i.e legs, arms, toe, hands, and feet.
There are many different conditions that can lead to this neurological disorder. However, some of the most common causes of neuropathy are:
- Vitamin deficiencies: Deficiency of vitamin B12, folate, and other essential vitamins can cause nerve damage leading to neuropathy.
- Chronic kidney diseases: If your kidneys are not properly functional, it can lead to peripheral neuropathy. Excess consumption of alcohol also leads to nerve damage.
- Drugs: Sometimes unsupervised drug intake can also lead to damage nerves. Chemotherapy can also become one of the main causes of neuropathy.
- Idiopathic: in some people, doctors are unable to find a specific cause for their nerve damage. Such condition is termed as idiopathic peripheral neuropathy.
Regardless of the causes, every disease is associated with certain symptoms. Some of the most commonly seen symptoms of neuropathy include:
- Gradual Onset of Loss of Feeling.
- The Inability to Determine Joint Position.
- Loss of Ability to Detect Changes in Heat and Cold.
- Burning or Shooting Pains – Which Worsen at Night.
- Foot ulcers, Infections, and Gangrene.
- Muscle Weakness, Difficulty in Performing Small Movements.
- Dizziness and Fainting.
- Loss of Control Over the Bladder Function.
- Erectile Dysfunction.
When to Seek Medical Help?
If you are experiencing any of the above stated symptoms or have any unusual symptom suggesting neuropathy, it is the right time to seek help from a professional.
How to Diagnose Neuropathy?
Different tests and exams can be performed to diagnose the condition. A neurological examination, which tests the reflexes and functioning of the motor and sensory nerves, is the most crucial part of the initial examination.
Some specific nerve function tests include:
- Electromyography: Electromyography or EMG is a test to measure the functioning of the nerves. In this test, thin needles containing electrode are inserted into the muscles to measure the electrical activity of muscles.
- Nerve biopsy: In very rare cases, the neurologist may advise you to undergo nerve biopsy. In such condition, a small piece of tissue is examined under the microscope to establish the cause of neuropathy.
- Nerve conduction studies: This test is conducted to check the speed at which messages are sent by the nerves. In peripheral neuropathy, there is a significant reduction in the speed.
Whether single nerve or a bunch of nerve is affected by neuropathy, it is important to treat the underlying cause and address the problem. The treatment of this neurological disorder involves an appropriate treatment to deal with the specific problem. Medications are prescribed by the physician to relieve the pain and burning sensation along with treating the numbness. So if you are experiencing a severe pain, it is always advised to seek medical intervention to check for the real cause of pain.