About the disease
Neuropathy is the damage of peripheral nerves. It can develop in case of degenerative changes. In general, the nervous system is formed by peripheral nerves, the brain and spinal cord. Peripheral nerves send the information from the brain and spinal cord to all other systems of the body. If the transportation of signals becomes disrupted for some reason, the person may feel pain and weakness.
There are many causes which can lead to development of neuropathy. It can develop from the traumas or injuries, which affected the peripheral nerves. It can also develop as a result of serious infection or some metabolic problems. In rare cases neuropathy is an inherited condition and it is passed from the parent to a child. Exposure to certain toxins can lead to development of neuropathy as well. Diabetes mellitus can cause nerve damage as well. In some cases, the development of neuropathy is provoked by arthritis or osteochondrosis of the spine, abnormal thyroid hormones or tumors in the body. Alcoholism can also become the cause of neuropathy.
There are three types of peripheral nerves: sensory, motor and autonomic. Sensory nerves are responsible for receiving sensation, so a person can touch and feel the contact with other objects. Motor nerves are responsible for controlling the way muscles move. Autonomic nerves control internal process of the body, such as heart rate, blood pressure and even digestion.
Peripheric nerves are very thin with complex structure, but they are unstable to damaging processes.
- Stabbing pain, usually in arms and legs
- Extreme sensitivity if sensory nerves were affected
- Lack of coordination and muscle weakness if motor nerves were affected.
- Changes in blood pressure in case autonomic nerves were affected
- During a general examination the doctor will check the reflexes of the patient and also his/her muscle strength. The doctor will also check the nerve sensitivity of the patient.
- Nerve function tests can check the way the nerves send and receive signals and determine if there are any abnormalities. Doctor usually use electrode through which the electrical signals are sent to the brain.
- Blood tests can check if there are any abnormalities with thyroid hormones and it can also rule out the possibility of an infection. It can also determine if there is deficiency of a vitamin or if a person has diabetes.
- Imaging tests can be used to check the internal organs and see if they were affected by neuropathy. It can also check if there are any signal problems.
- Conservative treatment uses special anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers to alleviate the pain. The patient may also undergo special therapies, such as electrical nerve stimulation or acupuncture. Physical therapy can be beneficial as well.
- It is important to treat the cause of neuropathy to treat the degenerative process of nerves.
- Surgery may be used to alleviate the pressure in the nerves and alleviate the pain.