If you have ever experienced neuropathy (or peripheral neuropathy), you know that it is a very unpleasant experience. It involves feeling a stinging, tingling or burning pain and usually occurs in the arm, legs, hands, and feet. Neuropathy can be long-lasting and usually has a big impact on one's life. The following is a list of questions whose answers can shed more light on neuropathy and its causes.
What are some symptoms of neuropathy?
The below symptoms can be signs of neuropathy:
- Abnormalities in blood pressure or pulse
- Burning or freezing sensations
- Difficulty sleeping due to pain
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Muscle weakness
- Sharp or stabbing electric pain
- Unusual sweating
What is the difference between polyneuropathy and mononeuropathy?
Polyneuropathy is more common and usually affects multiple locations and multiple nerves at the same time. Mononeuropathy involves only one location on the body — more commonly known conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and Bell's Palsy, are examples of mononeuropathy.
Who usually gets peripheral neuropathy?
People most commonly affected by peripheral neuropathy are those with diabetes or those who are pre-diabetic. This is because the excess sugar from these diseases tends to over-activate and damage your nervous system. A return to normal blood glucose levels may or may not reverse the neuropathy.
How is peripheral neuropathy treated?
Neuropathy is treated symptomatically. There is no cure because nerve cells are so complex. However, the treatments sometimes involve a combination of massage therapy, chiropractic, physical therapy or prescription medications. Treatment is usually on a long-term basis and can help those who suffer from neuropathy cope with the effects.
Is neuropathy avoidable?
In some cases, yes. If you are diabetic, it is important to take good care of your blood sugar and keep it within normal range over the long-term. Some diseases happen by genetics or trauma (an injury of force). These are unexpected and cannot be prevented in the same way.
Why are feet so important in neuropathy?
Those with neuropathy usually have numb feet all the time. If you cannot feel what you are stepping on, then you are likely to get cuts and scrapes on the underside of your feet. When this happens, your body's natural signals are no longer there to warn you of the danger, and infections and swelling often occur as a result.
What are the consequences of leaving neuropathy untreated?
As mentioned in the above answer, when you have no pain receptors you cannot feel when your feet get cut or hurt in other ways. If an infection results, this is when you can have serious consequences. An infection can damage the feet and legs badly enough to lead to amputation of one or both of your limbs.
What steps can I take to lower my chances of developing neuropathy?
If you have diabetes, practice good blood-sugar control. This will involve diet, exercise, and possibly medications such as insulin. Otherwise, you can reduce the stress on the hands to lower your chances of carpal tunnel — meaning you should spend less time at the computer typing. Traumatic injuries are unpredictable, but seek medical attention immediately to reduce your risk of developing further complications. If you have any other questions about neuropathy, don't hesitate to call our team of health professionals.
Request an appointment in our La Mesa office here: https://neurologicalandpain.com.