Peripheral neuropathy or simply neuropathy is a medical condition where the nerves that transmit sensations or signals from your brain and spinal cord, the central nervous system, to the rest of your body malfunction or become damaged. The peripheral nervous system connects the central nervous system to the rest of the body. When the nerves in this system are destroyed, they behave abnormally like sending pain signals to different parts of the body in the absence of any pain-causing stimulus. Medical research shows that about 75% of those with this condition suffer from painful sensation, leading to most treatments being about the management of this pain rather than providing a lasting solution. If you suffer from this condition, you can get Neuropathy Help from well-known vitamins, herbs, and supplements. These will give you a lasting solution rather than just a temporary relief.
It is important, though, to understand the causes, symptoms management, and treatment of neuropathy to keep yourself ready in case you become a victim. There are so many causes of neuropathy. Top among them include, infections, injuries, medications of some chronic diseases, and inheritance.
People suffering from diabetes are more likely to suffer from neuropathy. Those that develop this condition as a result of diabetes experience numbness, loss of sensation, and extreme pain in some body parts. Those that are at higher risk of such symptoms are individuals over the age of 40, overweight people, and those that have high blood pressure. University of Chicago’s Center for Peripheral neuropathy (UCCPN) posits that about 60% of diabetes patients suffer from some sort of nerve damage. Other infections that can cause nerve damage include hypothyroidism, kidney disorders, deficiency of some vitamins, and some degenerative diseases among others.
Apart from diabetes, some viruses and bacteria attack the nerves directly. Those suffering from HIV/AIDS are prone to nerve damage. Other viruses such as varicella-zoster and herpes simplex are also as dangerous. Bacterial infections and autoimmune diseases such as lupus also affect the peripheral nervous system causing serious and sharp pains.
If you take alcohol, you better do it in moderation. Alcohol contains toxic effects that affect the nerve tissues. Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol puts you at a high risk of developing peripheral neuropathy.
Exposure to Toxins
There are a lot of toxic chemicals released into the atmosphere from various industries. While these have mild effects, they can be harmful if you are exposed directly. Those that work in such factories and farms where they come into direct contact with solvents and insecticides stand a high chance of damaging their nerves and hence suffering from neuropathy. Exposure to heavy metals like mercury can also lead to this condition.
There are a variety of medications that have serious side effects and can cause nerve damage. Patients suffering from HIV/AIDS often need to use antiretroviral medications to suppress their viral load. Such medications have serious side effects on the nerve system and especially on the peripheral nerves. Other medications that pose the same risk include those used to treat cancer, bacterial drugs, and medications for blood pressure among others. When you visit a physician, they should be in a position to determine the effects their prescription will have on your nerves and maybe recommend an alternative.
Diagnosis and Treatment
When you experience sharp pains in your hands and feet without any pain-causing stimulus, you should visit your doctor. Your doctor will carry out some tests to check the level of vitamin and blood sugar levels. You can also go through a CT scan or MRI just to make sure that nothing is pressing on your nerves such as a tumor. In extreme cases, he can perform a nerve biopsy where you go through minor surgery to remove a sample of your nerve tissue that the doctor examines to determine any trace of nerve damage.
Most doctors will recommend over the counter medications as a first treatment to help you numb the sharp pains. They will prescribe medications such as acetaminophen and others such as aspirin and ibuprofen to help manage the pain. You can also opt for herbal treatment and the use of supplements as those recommended in the link above.
The best approach, though, is taking self-care measures to avoid this condition. Among the measures you can take are
Ø Avoid consuming too much alcohol, and if can, avoid it completely.
Ø Avoid smoking
Ø Engage in physical activities to keep your body strong and healthy
Ø Consider acupuncture and massage
Peripheral neuropathy is a debilitating disease that can seriously interfere with your day to day activities. It is vital that you take preventative measures rather than wait and seek medication.