Peripheral neuropathy is a painful condition, in which the nerves passing through the peripheral areas of body (arms and legs), are damaged. These nerves are responsible for sending sensory information to the brain. Symptoms of this nerve disorder include moderate pain, tingling and burning sensation in the hands and feet. Over time, patients experience sharp shooting pain, lack of sleep, difficulty walking and holding objects.
Causes of peripheral neuropathy
Diabetes: Uncontrolled diabetes
raises blood sugar to alarmingly high levels. Too much sugar circulating in the bloodstream is likely to cause nerve damage and cause neuropathy. In fact, peripheral neuropathy is considered to be one of the complications of uncontrolled diabetes.
B vitamins (B1, B6, and B12), play a very important role in the normal functioning of the nervous system. Adequate vitamin B
in the diet assists in protecting the nerve fibres. No wonder, deficiency of these vitamins is likely to cause nerve damage and trigger unpleasant sensation in the limbs.
This neurological disorder can also occur due to excess intake of alcoholic drinks. Too much alcohol consumption can be harmful to the nerves and cause tingling and numbness in the lower and upper limbs.
Nerves often get stretched or compressed when a person meets with an accident. Injuries like fractures of the arm or leg, can exert undue pressure on the peripheral nerves and cause neuropathy.
Kidney Problems: Kidney disorders
can cause excessive amount of toxic substances to accumulate in the bloodstream. This toxic build-up can also damage the nerve tissues and cause tingling sensation in the arms and legs.
Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy
The symptoms could also be dependent on the type of peripheral nerves that have undergone damage. Given below are some of the indications exhibited by the affected individual:
- A heightened sensitivity to being touched
- Abnormalities in the pulse or blood pressure
- Weakness in the muscles
- Abnormal sweating
- Sleep disorders due to pain in the legs and feet
- Loss of coordination and balance
- Difficulty in arm movements and in walking
- A feeling of wearing invisible socks or gloves
Symptoms like being unable to hold something or weakness in the limbs, losing the sensation of knowing where your feet are, and feeling burning or stabbing pain in the limbs, are all indications of peripheral neuropathy.
Treatment of peripheral neuropathy
Painkillers are mostly given to patients who have mild symptoms. Anti-seizure medications such as topiramate
, and phenytoin
may also be prescribed for moderate to serve pain. Antidepressants like nortriptyline
may also help to control the pain.
Physical therapy that includes specific exercises, are also advised to improve mobility and strength of peripheral areas of the body. Patients can also use mobility devices like wheelchair or walker to improve movement. Nerve damage caused due to alcohol abuse can be controlled by following a healthy diet and avoiding alcohol consumption
Nerve damage related to vitamin deficiencies
can be cured by taking the required supplements. Peripheral neuropathy resulting from excessive pressure on the nerve may require surgical intervention. The surgery is done to alleviate the pressure on the affected nerves, in turn helping to reduce the symptoms of this neurological problem
. All in all, prompt treatment is necessary to greatly reduce the probability of permanent nerve damage