Peripheral neuropathy is a condition where an individual experiences damage to the nerves responsible for carrying messages to and from the spinal cord and brain and the rest of their body. Many factors can cause an individual to develop peripheral neuropathy, including exposure to toxins, illness, trauma, infection, diabetes, rare inherited diseases, poor nutrition, alcoholism, vitamin deficiency, chemotherapy, cancer, thyroid disease, kidney disease, Lyme disease, AIDS, shingles, autoimmune diseases, certain medications, and other hereditary factors. A peripheral neuropathy diagnosis is made with the use of medical history, physical examination, neurological examination, blood tests, CT scans, MRIs, electromyography, autonomic reflex screen, nerve biopsy, and skin biopsy. Treatment may include the use of pain reliever medications, anti-seizure medications, topical treatments, antidepressant medications, plasma exchange, intravenous immune globulin, physical therapy, surgery, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.
There are several warning signs of peripheral neuropathy. Learn about them now.
Gradual Numbness In The Extremities
An individual can experience a progressive numbness in the hands and feet when the sensory nerves of the affected extremity become damaged over time. Sensory nerves are the nerves outside the central nervous system with the responsibility of communicating changes in temperature, pain, touch, and vibration to the brain. The sensation may start as tingling or prickling feelings that come and go, which progress to complete numbness that may start to spread upward to the arms or legs. Peripheral neuropathy does not usually cause symmetrical nerve damage, so sensation in one hand may be stronger than a sensation in the other. The numbness in the extremities can also have a layered nature, where patients may feel like they have a pair of thick gloves and or socks on the extremities that impair the normal function of sensation in the upper layers of tissue.
Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy now.