What is neuropathy? Neuropathy is defined as any disease that affects the nerves. There are nerves throughout your body that spread like wires to every organ and body part. The blood nourishes nerves, and when a disease like diabetes changes the blood so that it can no longer provide proper nutrients to the nerve endings, the coating of those nerves (called myelin sheathing) begins to deteriorate.
Those nerves then stop working properly, and the areas of the body that contain those nerves do not receive the correct messages and signals. This results in pain, tingling, numbness, burning, or cold feelings.
Peripheral neuropathy refers to damage to the sensory nerves, motor nerves that may control the ability to move properly, and circulatory nerves, which regulate the flow of blood. The condition most commonly begins in the hands and feet, though it can originate in other areas of the body, depending on specific trauma to that area.
Peripheral neuropathy affects people of all ages, and the condition is widespread. It particularly affects seniors, and it is estimated that this condition will reach 20-30% of Americans.
Common Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
The most common cause is type 2 diabetes, but many other conditions and chemical exposures can cause neuropathy. Autoimmune conditions such as HIV, tumors, vascular disease, hereditary conditions, bone marrow disorders, and viral infections such as Hepatitis and Epstein-Barr virus can cause the condition.
Alcoholism, statin medications, and benzodiazepines can also cause the condition, as these alter the blood chemistry. Chemotherapy or heavy chemical exposure can also cause neuropathy.
The first signs and symptoms of this condition include numbness, tingling or “pins and needles” in the hands and feet, spreading to arms and legs. But there are other symptoms to watch for as well.
Neuropathy symptoms may include:
- Losing balance and falling
- Burning pain in the hands or feet
- Feeling like you are wearing socks or gloves when you’re not
- Weakness of the muscles
- Jabbing or stabbing pain in hands or feet
- Increased sensitivity to being touched or touching objects
- Inexplicable pain in extremities
Peripheral neuropathy can also affect the autonomic nervous system, and this can cause other symptoms:
- Heat intolerance
- Excessive or inhibited sweating
- Digestive or elimination (bowel and urinary) issues
- Blood pressure changes which can show up as dizziness
As the disease progresses, symptoms worsen and spread. If left untreated, it can lead to heart trouble, fractures from falling, and a decreased quality of life.
Treatments for Peripheral Neuropathy
If you know you have peripheral neuropathy, you may have been told there is nothing that can be done about this condition except pain management. The truth is that there is hope and help for this condition through regenerative therapy.
Regenerative medicine is a highly effective method of treatment for peripheral neuropathy. Regenerative treatments help the nerves rebuild themselves by injecting healing properties directly into the area that is losing function. The body wants to heal the nerves, and the growth factors and tissue present in regenerative injections give it the boost it needs to do so without the high risk of rejection or side effects.
Call us today if you would like to learn more about alternative treatments for peripheral neuropathy (214) 221-2525.