Peripheral nervous system refers to the nerves that are outside the brain and spinal cord, and this system has the main purpose to connect the limbs and organs to central nervous system.
What is peripheral neuropathy and what are the main symptoms?
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that refers to the damage of the nerves, which causes pain, numbness or the loss of feeling in hands and feet. The nerves which are affected by this condition are sensory motor and autonomic nerves, all of them being a part of the peripheral nervous system. People with this condition will usually begin to experience the first symptoms in their toes, but the initial symptoms will not be the same in every case, and they will depend on the type of the nerves that are affected. Besides the symptoms that have already been mentioned at the beginning, extreme sensitivity, lack of coordination, weakness of muscles, and even problems with bowels or bladder may indicate peripheral neuropathy. None of these symptoms should be ignored, because it may only worsen the condition and decrease the chances for the successful treatment.
The causes of peripheral neuropathy
A wide range of factors may cause this condition, which is why it is not always easy to determine the exact one. However, among the most common ones are various traumas or pressures to the particular nerve. Others include deficiency of B vitamins, diabetes or some other autoimmune diseases (such as hypothyroidism, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis), infections, alcoholism, diseases of liver or kidneys, for example, and tumors, but when it comes to the peripheral neuropathy, it is important to mention that it can also be the result of the exposure to some toxic substance or certain medications that are usually used for the treatment of cancer. What may also make people more prone to developing this condition is physical stress that constantly repeats.
The reason why it is important to determine the right cause is related to the fact that the treatment depends on it. If the cause can be controlled or cured, then peripheral neuropathy will improve in the majority of the cases as well. Besides treating the cause, the purpose of the treatment is also to relieve the symptoms, most of all the pain. For that purpose, medications such as pain relievers and anti-seizures are used, while in some cases even antidepressants may be helpful.