Neuropathy is a condition involving mostly the peripheral nerves, or the nerves that supply your extremities to the brain and spinal cord. It is mostly seen in varying medical conditions but may exist without any apparent cause, which doctors would refer to as idiopathic.
Facts of Neuropathy
Neuropathy is a fairly common condition, and is sometimes just a complication of several underlying medical conditions. The nerves involved can be the autonomic nerves, sensory nerves or motor nerves. In some cases, only single nerves are affected but involving a set of nerves may be seen. For example, Bell’s palsy is a condition wherein it affects the facial nerve affecting both the skin and muscle of the face.
Other causes of neuropathy can be any of the following:
- Repetitive injury
- Metabolic problems
- Toxin exposure
- Drug induced
The most common cases of neuropathy are found in people afflicted with diabetes, but not all diabetic patients develop neuropathy as a complication. However, routine neuropathy testing is done on diabetic patients to ensure quality of life. Even if neuropathy in itself cannot be treated, the underlying causes can be targeted to reverse the symptom. For example, if it is toxin or drug induced, removal of the causative agents can reverse the neuropathy.
As mentioned, peripheral neuropathy is a common condition that affects more than 20 million people in US alone. The condition can occur in virtually all age groups but become more common among older age groups. It often comes as either primary or secondary diagnosis and can affect many nerves. The manifestations are largely dependent on the nerve types affected including –
- Autonomic Nerves – These nerves are those that supply areas you cannot control such as your gut or bladder. They are also responsible for changing the blood pressure, sweating, and regulating heart rate.
- Motor Nerves – These nerves allow movement and power on your muscles. Any condition involving these nerves will cause weakness on your hands and feet.
- Sensory Nerves – As the name implies, it control the sensation, which could result to pain, numbness, tingling sensation or weakness on the extremities when affected.
How to Find a Doctor
You can find a good neuropathy doctor in Northern NJ through recommendations from your family, friends or colleague. If you cannot find someone who can refer you to a good doctor, simply make a broad research and identify a set of criteria that you are looking for in a doctor. Find someone who is not only knowledgeable and experienced in the field but someone you are comfortable with and you can trust as well.
See How Your Neighbors Feel About Our Neuropathy Care Program:
Diabetic neuropathy, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Diabetic Neuropathy – Practice Essentials, emedicine.medscape.com