Did you know, according to the National Institute of Health, there are about 20 million people in the United States who have peripheral neuropathy? When hearing the words “peripheral neuropathy”, diabetes is often the first word that comes to mind. However, there are many other potential causes for peripheral neuropathy, several of which can be treated.
About Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy is when nerves become damaged in the arms and legs and do not function as they should be and can present differently depending on the nerves involved. There are three different types of peripheral neuropathy named for the types of nerves affected and include:
- Sensory Neuropathy – involves nerves that allow people to feel temperature, pain, light touch, and vibration. When these nerves are affected, a burning, tingling pain (or numbness) can occur, and disrupt a person’s quality of life.
- Motor Neuropathy – involves nerves that allow muscle movements. When these nerves are affected, people often experience weakness and atrophy of their muscles.
- Autonomic Neuropathy – involves nerves that control sweat glands, bladder function, and blood vessel contraction. When these nerves are affected, the skin can become dry due to lack of sweating, there is decreased bladder control, as well as the ability for the blood vessels to help regulate blood pressure.
Non-Diabetes Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
Even though type-2 diabetes is the number one cause for peripheral neuropathy, there are many other conditions that can cause it, and include, but not limited to:
- Trauma – Injuries from various traumas can cause partial or permanent damage to nerves, including surgery.
- Infections – There are many bacteria and viruses that can cause neuropathy such as Shingles, Lyme disease, HIV, and hepatitis C.
- Nutrition Deficiencies – Having decreased intake of certain vitamins can lead to neuropathy, such as B Vitamins (especially B1, B6, and B12). If proper nutrition is maintained, this can be easily prevented.
- Medications – There are numerous medications that have cause neuropathy as a side-effect. Some of the most common meds are cancer chemotherapy, HIV drugs, and Isoniazid for people with tuberculosis.
- Alcohol Consumption – Chronic alcohol consumption can lead to neuropathy by causing nutritional deficiencies in the B vitamins (especially B1 and B12).
- Autoimmune Conditions – In autoimmune diseases, the body attacks itself, and can cause damage to nerves. These conditions include, but are not limited to: Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s syndrome.
- Others – Kidney diseases, cancers/tumors, small vessel disease
If you have been experiencing numbness, burning, tingling sensations, or weakness in your legs and feet, please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona. We will explain all your treatment options to available to you to help protect and improve your foot health this upcoming summer.