Peripheral Neuropathy is a condition in which the nerves in the peripheral nervous system become damaged, and often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in the hands and feet. Eventhough hands and feet are commonly associated with this affliction, it can also affect other parts of the body.
It is estimated that 2% to 7% of the general population suffers from Peripheral Neuropathy, and that older people tend have a higher risk of developing this condition. The prevalence of Peripheral Neuropathy was estimated at 8% in those aged 55 years and is more common in men compared to women.
Certain diseases can also significantly increase the risk of Peripheral Neuropathy. Studies have estimated the prevalence of Peripheral Neuropathy in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus at between 20% and 70%. There is also a link between occupational activities and the risk of developing Peripheral Neuropathy – for example, it is higher among people working in professions that require constant repetitive motions.
Most neuropathies will affect all the three types of nerves to varying degrees :
Peripheral Neuropathy can be categorized by the following factors:
There are over 100 causes of Peripheral Neuropathy including neurological syndromes, systemic diseases, nutritional deficiencies, toxins/drugs, and genetic disorders. Unfortunately, in up to 40% of cases, no cause can be determined despite a full medim examination and screening. Peripheral Neuropathy can also be inherited in about 20% of cases, and as such, family history should often be investigated for conditions like Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, which can affect the motor and sensory nerves.
Some of the common causes of Peripheral Neuropathy include :
Peripheral Neuropathy encompasses a wide array of symptoms such as
Basically, there are two objectives when treating Peripheral Neuropathy, which are : treating the underlying cause and managing the symptoms experienced.
For the treating of medical problem associated with Peripheral Neuropathy, these could include :
For symptomatic management of Peripheral Neuropathy, these could include :
In addition to the symptomatic management of Peripheral Neuropathy, additional supportive measures can be taken, such as :
Peripheral Neuropathy sufferers are advised to take care of their feet, especially for those who suffer from diabetes. Proper foot care includes checking daily for blisters, cuts or calluses. Patients should be recommended to wear soft, loose cotton socks and padded shoes.
Exercise regularly, for example, three times or more a week. Exercise activities may include brisk walking, yoga and taichi. Regular exercise can help patients reduce the intensity of neuropathic pain, besides improving muscle strength and function, coordination and dexterity at the same time.
Physiotherapy can be effective in helping Peripheral Neuropathy sufferers increase their strength, improve their balance and range of motion, while occupational therapy can help patients cope with the pain as well as compensate for any loss of function that arises from the neuropathy.
Wear tools like splints, hand and foot braces, and orthotics. Ensure that these tools are utilise properly to mobility and function.
Smoking can effectively constrict and damage blood vessels, affecting circulation and increasing the risk of foot problems other neuropathy complications.
Good nutrition is especially important, more so to those who suffers from Peripheral Neuropathy arising from nutritional deficiencies.
Alcohol can worsen Peripheral Neuropathy by aggravating neuropathic pain and increasing nerve damage.
For Peripheral Neuropathy sufferers with diabetes, achieving a strict control of their blood glucose levels is probably the most impactful thing that can be done to slow down the progression of their neuropathy. Studies have indicated that episodes of hyperglycaemia can induce further nerve damage and aggravate neuropathic pain. additionally, good glycaemic control has been shown to also reduce abnormalities in nerve conduction.
Very informative post, peripheal neuropathy is often the unwelcome outcome of chemotherapy, as the chemo drugs get deposited on the vital organs like kidney and liver makes it even worse. Drinking lots of water during and after the chemotherapy is important to remove the toxins in the body and also regular massage is also important in removing the toxins from the body.