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What is peripheral neuropathy and why does it occur?

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that is characterizedprimarily by pain and numbness in hands and feet, caused by some kind of thedamage to the nerve. This damage may be a consequence of diabetes, infection,exposure to toxins or poisons, and various traumatic injuries. Besides thesecauses, it is possible to inherit this type of neuropathy, as well as todevelop it due to the deficiency of some vitamin (particularly B or E), or dueto the excessive consummation of alcohol. To what extent the condition can betreated also depends on the underlying cause and the possibility to treat andcure it. This means that in some cases; the symptoms may disappear for good,while in other cases, they can only be relieved with the help of medications or somekind of therapy.

Since the condition affects peripheral nervous system, itmeans that sensory, motor or autonomic nerves may be affected, which is why peoplesuffering from it will probably experience extreme sensitivity to even verylight touch, lack of coordination, weakness of muscles or even paralysis, aswell as problems with bladder or bowel. However, the symptoms do vary from caseto case, depending on the nerves that are damaged.

What types of peripheral neuropathy are there?

As for the types of peripheral neuropathy, they may beclassified according to the cause, or according to the number of nervesaffected. This means that mononeuropathy is a type of neuropathy in which onlyone nerve is damaged, while polyneuropathy refers to the type in which morethan one peripheral nerve is damaged. The fact is that polyneuropathy is muchmore frequent than mononeuropathy. When the cause is the criterion, peripheral neuropathies canbe classified as:

Idiopathic, when the cause of this condition is unknown andcannot be identified,Diabetic or prediabetic, when it is caused by diabetes orprediabetesHereditary, when it is present at birthToxic, when it is a result of exposure to toxins, alcohol,Inflammatory, when it is caused by various infectious diseases(such as Lyme disease, HIV/AIDS, herpes, or hepatitis), or autoimmune disorders(such as sarcoidosis, vasculitis, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy,Celiac disease)Systemic or metabolic, when conditions such as kidneyfailure, or vitamin deficiency cause it.

There is also a number of other conditions and disordersthat may result in peripheral neuropathy, among which are tumors, amyloidosis,carpal tunnel syndrome, Bell’s palsy.

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