19 Apr What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is the medical term used for nerve damage to the peripheral nervous system. This system is comprised of all the nerves in your body except the brain and the spinal cord, which are referred to as the central nervous system.
Peripheral neuropathy has various causes. It could come from repeating the same motions over and over again, which can result in a condition known as carpal tunnel. This is often associated with repetitive motion that comes from typing jobs and factory work, where the same motion is repeated day after day, year after year. It generally takes years for carpal tunnel to develop.
Illnesses can also cause nerve damage. These include:
Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system
- Myasthenia gravis
- Some types of cancer
- Multiple sclerosis
- Lyme disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (known as Lou Gehrig’s disease)
In addition, certain vitamin deficiencies, alcoholism, various medications, and sometimes chemotherapy treatments can result in peripheral neuropathy.
Diabetes is one of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy, a condition brought on by high glucose levels in the blood that leads to poor circulation and nerve damage. Because of this, persons with diabetes must be extra cautious about taking care of their hands and feet.
Diabetic Foot Issues
With diabetes, the feet are especially susceptible to chronic ulcers and poor healing that arises from long-term peripheral neuropathy. People pay less attention, as a rule, to their feet as they do to their hands, which are visible throughout the day.
Peripheral neuropathy can result in a burning pain in the feet, making it difficult to walk. But over time this also results in numbness. As such, while the feet will have difficulty healing from a wound due to the poor circulation, sores on the feet can go unnoticed for a while because of numbness.
If you have diabetes, check your feet daily for ulcers and sores. Visit a podiatrist regularly to get clinical assessments of your feet and to treat any wounds or ulcers as soon as possible.