Peripheral neuropathy is a disorder that affects nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord. Various factors, including physical harm, germs, and genetics, can cause this. There is a wide variety of potential signs. In many cases, we know the causes, manifestations, or symptoms of this ailment someone has and can effectively treat them.
The central nervous system sends information to the rest of the body through a network of nerves in the body's periphery. They aid in things like temperature perception (they tell you when your feet are chilly) and muscular movement (walking). Axons, the constituent cells of peripheral nerves, are protected from their environments by the surrounding tissues.
The peripheral nervous system is extremely vulnerable. If a nerve is damaged, the brain can't properly relay messages to the body's limbs and internal systems. When nerves in the body's periphery are harmed, the condition is known as peripheral neuropathy.
After suffering a peripheral nerve injury, immediate medical attention is required. Complications and long-term damage may be avoided with prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms of Nerve Damage
When a peripheral nerve is hurt, it can cause a wide range of symptoms, from minor pain to severe disability. The nerve fibers that are injured often determine which symptoms you experience.
- Motor nerves. All the muscles you can consciously control, like those for walking, talking, and holding things, are controlled by these nerves. Weak muscles, severe cramps, and involuntary muscular twitching are common symptoms of nerve damage in this area.
- Sensory nerves. As these nerves transmit information regarding touch, warmth, and pain, many symptoms may manifest themselves. Tingling or numbness in the extremities is one such symptom. You may have problems feeling pain or temperature changes, moving around, maintaining your equilibrium when you close your eyes, or even doing something as simple as buttoning your shirt.
- Autonomic (aw-tuh-NOM-ik) nerves. This network of nerves controls many things in the background, like breathing, heart and thyroid function, and digestion. Excessive perspiration, fluctuations in blood pressure, an inability to tolerate heat, and gastrointestinal issues are all possible signs.
Many injuries to the peripheral nervous system damage more than one type of nerve fiber, so that you may have a wide variety of symptoms.
Whom Does Peripheral Neuropathy Affect?
Anyone, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, previous health conditions, etc., is at risk for developing peripheral neuropathy. However, certain individuals are more vulnerable to developing certain forms of peripheral neuropathy (see below under Causes and Symptoms for more about this).
Some age-related disorders are also associated with a high prevalence of peripheral neuropathy. That's why it's important to keep an eye on your age because it may raise your risk of acquiring peripheral neuropathy.
How Common is Peripheral Neuropathy?
For many reasons, peripheral neuropathy is quite common. Worldwide, 2.4% of the population suffers from peripheral neuropathy. This number jumps to between 5 and 7 percent for those aged 45 and up.
How Quickly Does Peripheral Neuropathy Develop?
The underlying cause greatly affects how peripheral neuropathy gets worse and how it shows up in the body. It can manifest instantly or within minutes or hours after an injury. While some forms of peripheral neuropathy, such as those caused by toxins or inflammation, can appear suddenly, others can take months, years, or even decades.
When Should You See a Doctor?
If you have weakness, tingling, numbness, or complete loss of feeling in a limb, consult your doctor to establish the cause. It is critical to treat peripheral nerve damage as soon as possible.
Causes of Nerve Damage
- Peripheral nerves can be injured in a variety of ways, including:
- An accident, a fall, or a sports injury can stretch, compress, crush, or sever nerves.
- Diabetes, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and carpal tunnel syndrome are examples of medical diseases.
- Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren's syndrome are autoimmune illnesses.
- Other factors include artery constriction, hormone abnormalities, and malignancies.