Understanding Peripheral Neuropathy and Its Causes and Possible Treatments
Based on the latest reports from the medical sector, an estimated 20 million people in the United States are currently living with peripheral neuropathy. More people are diagnosed with this condition every year, and many others are suffering from it but have yet to be diagnosed. Because of this prevalence, quite a few people are left wondering just what the condition is and where it comes from. Millions are also interested in learning whether it’s possible to reverse peripheral neuropathy or it’s simply something they’ll be forced to deal with.
Understanding Peripheral Neuropathy
The human body consists of several systems, each of which is made up of various components that work together to carry out specific functions. One is the nervous system. The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord, but it also includes millions of additional nerves that extend beyond the central portion of the system. Those accessories to the brain and spinal cord are the peripheral nerves.
Peripheral nerves send signals to the brain and spinal cord from the rest of the body and distribute information from the central nervous system to other areas of the body. Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that involves damage to the peripheral nerves. When those nerves are damaged, they won’t function properly and can send undue signals to the brain and spinal cord. On the other hand, they may fail to send signals at all.
As a result, those who live with this condition may experience weakness, numbness, and tingling. They can also experience stabbing pain or a pins-and-needles sensation. They may be forced to deal with burning pain as well. For some people, the condition causes issues with digestion, circulation, and other functions. Discomfort, pain, numbness, and other symptoms of peripheral neuropathy tend to worsen over time as the nerves become more severely damaged.
What Causes Peripheral Neuropathy?
Several issues can lead to peripheral neuropathy. One of the most common is diabetes, but it’s not the only factor by any means. Serious infections and injuries, prolonged alcohol abuse, exposure to nerve-damaging toxins, and certain medical conditions can also cause peripheral neuropathy. Vitamin deficiencies can bring about nerve damage, too.
Can Peripheral Neuropathy Be Reversed?
Yes, peripheral neuropathy can be reversed in many cases. Catching the condition early on is the key to reversing nerve damage and preventing further issues. Treating and reversing the condition also depends largely on its underlying causes. If the cause is alcohol abuse, toxic substances, or certain medications, for example, ceasing exposure to those elements can improve the symptoms and allow the peripheral nerves to regenerate.
For those who suffer from diabetes, maintaining control over their blood sugar levels can be an effective treatment for peripheral neuropathy. If the condition stems from a vitamin deficiency, ramping up the patient’s intake of the necessary nutrients can reverse the issue. If an injury or infection is the root cause of the condition, it may be reversible as well. Certain types of therapy and surgical procedures may be effective for treating the affected nerves and preventing more extensive damage in some cases.