Understanding Neuropathy

Neuropathy is a condition where damage to the nerves causes various processes of the body to malfunction. One of the most common types of this condition is peripheral neuropathy, where nerves in the outer extremities of the body fail to serve their purpose as messengers for the central nervous system.

Peripheral neuropathy comes in three main forms: sensory, motor, and autonomic neuropathy. However, experts also consider mononeuropathy, a condition where a single nerve outside the central nervous system is damaged, as a common occurrence.

People diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy often experience numbness, prickling or tingling sensations in the hands, fingers, toes, and feet, and even muscle weakness. This collection of symptoms usually emerge after the patient experienced physical injury or repetitive trauma, or if he or she has an underlying disease like diabetes, HIV, shingles, or lupus.

Peripheral neuropathy facts state that the common risks factors for nerve pain are alcohol abuse, exposure to toxic substances, infections, autoimmune disorders, hereditary medical conditions, tumors, vitamin deficiency, improper use of medications, and many others.

How Neuropathy Affects Your Life

Neuropathy isn’t considered a disease itself, but it can be life-threatening. It all depends on the underlying cause of the nerve damage. Mortality is considered variable to the disease or injury that caused neuropathic symptoms to emerge, but in most cases, death comes to those suffering from motor neuropathy.

Even so, people with neuropathy, in general, have quite a difficult time functioning normally. While a person’s lifespan is affected by neuropathy, people suffering from neuropathic symptoms are most likely to have trouble performing things they usually do on a day-to-day basis.

  1. Mobility

Mobility is the first thing that people with motor neuropathies lose. This is especially true for people suffering from muscle weakness or paralysis. From simple tasks like walking short distances to more complicated ones like dancing, motor neuropathy impedes a person’s ability to move because of damage to the nerves that transmit signals from the brain.

  1. Balance

Neuropathy also affects a person’s balance, causing him to fall or trip more often than people without the condition. Like mobility, this is caused by paralysis and muscle weakness categorized under motor neuropathy symptoms. However, sensory neuropathy may also play a part in a patient’s balance as in the condition known as Charcot joint characterized by loss of sensation on a limb, typically the feet.

  1. Pain

Pain is another symptom that greatly affects daily life as it not only causes the patient to suffer but also impedes him to be more physically active prior to acquiring neuropathy. Specific kinds of pain accompany nerve damage, including sharp, stabbing aches, throbbing, burning or freezing, and pinching aches.

  1. Temperature Sensitivity

Extreme sensitivity to warm and cold may also impede day-to-day activities as the patient with this form of sensory neuropathy would need to adjust their clothing accordingly.

  1. Numbness

While pain may cause a person discomfort, some people actually prefer it over losing feeling altogether. This is because numbness may result in untreated wounds and injuries. This is because the patient is unable to feel the stimuli and, ultimately, leaves him or her no choice but to be more aware of breaks in the skin to avoid infections and more serious conditions.

  1. Urinary and Bowel Incontinence

Some symptoms of neuropathy also affect a person’s self-esteem. “Accidents” caused by urinary and bowel incontinence can be embarrassing as not everyone understands that it can be caused by an underlying medical condition. Similarly, men who have erectile dysfunction, which can also be a result of autonomic neuropathy, would have a difficult time finding a partner because of their condition.

For more information about neuropathy, visit Neuropathyhelp.co.

About the author

Sara T. Loving

Leave a Comment