What Is Peripheral Neuropathy? 5 Lower Extremity Issues We Can Help With

Neuropathy occurs because of damage to one or more peripheral nerves that often affects a patient’s hands and feet. Symptoms include pain, numbness, lethargy, and weakness. As the peripheral nerves communicate with the brain and central nervous system, a neuropathy diagnosis can occur after a serious infection, a traumatic injury, or chemical exposure. It also leaves patients with severe, stabbing pain. Symptoms of neuropathy are treatable and may be acute (sudden onset) or chronic which worsens over time. It is why an early diagnosis is critical.

Diabetic neuropathy is a common form of nerve damage if you are a diabetic since glucose can affect all the nerves in the body. Diabetic neuropathy will most likely affect a diabetic patient’s extremities also. Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy include pain, numbness, and issues that affect other systems. It is possible to prevent or slow down diabetic neuropathy with a lifestyle change and control of blood sugar.

Risk factors like family history, vitamin deficiencies, auto-immune disorders, infections, organ disorders, repetitive employment practices, poor sugar level discipline, and social issues like alcohol or toxin exposure increase the likelihood that a patient will develop symptoms of peripheral neuropathy after a diabetic diagnosis.

Advancement in cancer and HIV treatments are always at the forefront of discovery with pharmaceutical researchers and doctors. Chemotherapy is one of the leading ways that cancer cells are destroyed, but it also affects spinal cord nerves that connect to internal organs, muscles, and skin. It is not a guarantee that cancer or HIV patients will form neuropathy, but it will depend significantly on the drugs and dosage given. Patients often experience dizziness, irregular heartbeats, or changes in blood pressure.

Malnutrition, a vitamin B deficiency, and diet are also a cause of peripheral neuropathy. For older patients or people that are vegetarian or have autoimmune disorders, a vitamin B deficiency is also a contributor to neuropathy which can lead to nerve damage, anemia, or decline that causes pain, numbness, or loss of coordination.

When analysis and testing cannot determine the cause of peripheral damage, medical professionals refer to this type as idiopathic neuropathy. There are three nerves in the peripheral nervous system which includes the sensory nerves that communicate with the brain, the motor nerves that send signals between the brain and muscles, and autonomic nerves that control body functions. There is no cure for idiopathic neuropathy, but medication, lifestyle changes, and PT are common treatments.

The peripheral vascular disease is a leading cause of disability for Americans that causes arteries to narrow near the heart and brain because of the reduction of blood flow. Plaque build-up is also an issue that raises the risk for vascular disease. Risk factors include diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, and smoking. A patient’s systems will depend on the area that the arteries are blocked.

To learn more about any of these medical issues or schedule an appointment for diagnosis and treatment, please call Crofton at 301-926-8400, Prince Frederick at 410-881-7644, or Salisbury at 443-672-2600. You can also visit our Facebook page or send a message via our website.

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