Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that is as painful as it is difficult to pronounce. Many people, especially middle-aged adults and the elderly, suffer from this condition and although it has a variety of symptoms and causes, the condition is equally painful to all. At first, and most commonly, the condition manifests itself as a strange numbness in your outer extremities (hands and feet). This numbness can lead to a stinging sensation, a tingling sensation, a burning sensation, or nothing but pure pain. Those that have dealt with this condition for some time will compare the numbness and lack of sensation to that of wearing a glove over the affected area.

Over time, it can develop into a pain that gets worse, so it is important to take the time to pinpoint the cause and try to treat it before it becomes too severe. If this condition is treated, it will eventually heal on its own and the patient can expect a full recovery.

Traditionally, peripheral neuropathy is caused as a result of injury, bacterial infection, metabolic issues, toxicity, and more commonly – diabetes. Since there are so many causes, treating the condition might be difficult at first, but your doctor will be able to help you pinpoint the cause and the treatment.

Some examples of underlying conditions that can cause peripheral neuropathy are:

  • Remaining in a fixed position for long periods of time, such as at a desk, standing, or hunched over.
  • Trauma to the nerves as a result of an accident or injury.
  • Being deficient in vitamins or minerals, particularly B Vitamins.
  • Type 1 diabetes – Many people with diabetes suffer from peripheral neuropathy in some capacity.
  • Arthritic or other auto-immune diseases/conditions. It goes without saying that any disease that attacks the body has a high chance of causing nerve damage, which would result in some form of this condition.
  • Reaching high levels of toxicity as a result of exposure to poisons or poorly functioning organs.

If after reading this article you think you might have peripheral neuropathy, there are some ways to find out for sure. A doctor can test reflexes and your sensory perception to see how well you respond to stimuli and pain. They can also perform blood tests to check for indicators, but there is no specific test. Still, your doctor will most likely be able to arrive at a diagnosis using a portfolio of blood, urine, nerve, and metabolic tests. As a last resort, you doctor might recommend a biopsy, which involves removing a small portion of skin/tissue in order to test for problems or abnormalities.

Lastly, you should arrive at a diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy, there are a few medications that can be used to minimize the pain and prevent further damage. To start with, you can try over the counter pain medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Your doctor can also prescribe more powerful medications to ingest orally or wear on the skin. These medications shouldn’t be used as a crutch however and can become dangerous if used too often. In some cases, anti-seizure medications can work to solve the problem by stabilizing your nerve pathways. Lastly, some antidepressants will also work. Again, since the condition can result from a variety of issues, you will want to do some testing and examination of your own to see where the problem originates from.

For the most part, this disease can be easily treated and will not become a lifelong impairment. Although the sensation might be difficult to bear, taking care of yourself and getting supplementation to improve deficiencies can help you bridge the gap between pain and normalcy.

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Last updated on Sep 9th, 2009 and filed under Neurological Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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