Neuropathy is the damage or malfunctioning of the nervous system which affects a person’s ability to move. Common symptoms associated with neuropathy include numbness, weakness, and even paralysis. Neuropathy can be caused by injuries to the nerve or can even develop overtime as the result of poor diet, medication, or infection. While many people tend to think that only the elderly are at risk for neuropathy, it should also be mentioned that younger people can be affected.
The symptoms of neuropathy disease can vary from one person to the next. For instance, if an individual is suffering from diabetes they may show signs of diabetic neuropathy. This neuropathy disease is characterized by numbness, leg pain, and loss of muscle control. If someone suffers from alcoholism they may show signs of alcohol neuropathy. Alcoholism does not cause neuropathy, but it does reduce the effectiveness of the nerve damage.
Another form of neuropathy is due to injury to the musculoskeletal system. The most common type of neuropathy is that which is caused by trauma to the spinal cord. While this type of neuropathy often results in limited disability it does occasionally lead to total paralysis of the leg or even the entire body. When a severe blow to the head or neck is responsible for this type of injury it is called a traumatic brain injury. Other causes of this type of neuropathy include car accidents, a fall from a height, and some forms of cancer.
Some forms of neuropathy can occur due to hereditary factors. This neuropathy disease has been strongly influenced by the genes of the carriers of the disease. Individuals who suffer from neuropathy often pass on this trait to their children. Inheritance also seems to be a factor in sudden sensorineural neuropathy. Sudden sensorineural neuropathy is sometimes called “pins and needles” because the sensations felt are like those of a pinching sensation on the skin.
Other causes of neuropathy include chronic bacterial infection, systemic Lupus erythematosus, diabetes, alcoholism, and radiation therapy. Diagnosing neuropathy disease of the nervous system involves the use of neuropathy tests. Patients are often treated with medication to help control the nerve damage and the pain. Depending on the severity of the neuropathy disease, drugs may be required to control symptoms. If the damage to the nerves is extensive, permanent surgical implants may be required to provide a sense of feeling again.
Prevention of neuropathy is possible through changes in lifestyle. Anyone can live with neuropathy, but those who are older or are experiencing other health issues that put their nerve system at risk should make changes to help slow or prevent the progression of the disease. Diet and exercise can greatly affect nerve health. Caffeine and alcohol are known to aggravate symptoms, so people with neuropathy should avoid consuming them. A healthy diet and exercise program can greatly benefit those with neuropathy, as well.
Those who have experienced nerve damage due to an accident can be at higher risk for developing neuropathy later in life. This is because nerve damage can occur without causing actual damage to the body. This can result in numbness or limited sensation in areas that need to be sensationally stimulated. Those at greatest risk for neuropathy later in life are those who have had traumatic injuries, diabetes, alcoholism, viral or bacterial infections, or poor nutrition.
If you are concerned that you might be at risk for neuropathy, speak to your doctor about a course of treatment. The earlier the neuropathy is detected, the easier it can be to treat. People with neuropathy should not take a chance and should always seek medical attention if they believe they might suffer from this painful disease. Neuropathy is no laughing matter. It can drastically affect daily life and the quality of that life. Anyone who suffers from neuropathy has a strong need for quality medical care, so if you believe you might be at risk for neuropathy, talk to your doctor today.