What is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a condition affecting the nerves in the body. It specifically affects the peripheral nerves which are the motor and sensory nerves. These regulate a range of bodily functions, including voluntary muscle movement, involuntary organ activity and sensory nerves which affect how external stimuli is perceived. Neuropathy occurs when your peripheral nerves become disrupted or damaged.
What Are The Symptoms?
There are a broad range of symptoms for neuropathy, since every nerve in your body performs a function it depends on which nerves are affected. But some symptoms to watch out for include numbness, prickling or tingling which starts in the hands and feet but can spread up to the arms and legs. Stabbing, throbbing or burning pains, sensitivity to touch and muscle weakness. If the body’s autonomic nerves are affected you can experience a range of symptoms. These include changes in blood pressure leading to dizziness or fainting. A range of digestive issues are also likely. Should you notice any unusual tingling in your hands and feet, it’s important to speak to your GP right away. The sooner the damage is spotted the easier it is to control, with less chance of it causing more damage to your peripheral nerves.
What Are The Causes?
Neuropathy isn’t a single disease and is instead caused by nerve damage from a range of disorders. These can include alcoholism, diabetes, infection, trauma or pressure to the nerve, exposure to toxins and vitamin deficiencies. Looking after your general health can help to prevent neuropathy, although in some cases the cause is genetic.
Who Is Affected?
Neuropathy is a common disorder, and it’s estimated that over twenty million people in America suffer with it on some level. Any age can be affected, although it’s more common in older adults. Due to the nature of the condition, those who are already affected by other illnesses are more likely to get it. In some cases, there is no apparent cause. This is called idiopathic neuropathy and accounts for up to 40% of neuropathy cases.
What Are The Treatments?
When an underlying cause of neuropathy is known, treating the symptoms of this can help to ease the symptoms. For example, a vitamin deficiency can be treated with vitamin b12 injections or tablets. When the cause is known to be diabetes, controlling blood sugar levels can help. Physical therapy can help to relieve pressure on the nerves. Medication can be taken to help with the symptoms of nerve pain. General over the counter painkillers aren’t usually effective. However, these are known to cause effects such as tiredness and dizziness. Alternative medicine such as acupuncture and herbal remedies can be effective. These can be used with no adverse side effects. You could visit a clinic such as Happy Healthy Wellbeing Centre, to discover how natural solutions can help with neuropathy symptoms.
What Is The Prognosis?
Neuropathy isn’t something that can be ‘cured’, but symptoms can be managed effectively. Catching it early before further damage has been caused to the nerves will give the best outlook. So it’s important to speak to a doctor as soon as you notice symptoms so they can check if anything else is going on in your body.