Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy , sometimes referred to as Polyneuropathy or simply Neuropathy, is the term used to describe the symptoms and neurological signs produced by damage to the nerves of the peripheral nervous system. These symptoms may include tingling or numbness (paresthesia), vague unpleasant sensations of the limbs (dyesthesias) or even severe burning sensations with hypersensivity (hyperesthesias). In some cases this is accompanied by weakness, loss of balance (ataxia) and autonomic symptoms such as impaired sweating or skin blotching.

Multiple causes exist for this condition, including numerous hereditary neuropathies, metabolic/endocrine disorders especially diabetes, renal failure, or hypothyroidism, toxic causes such as alcoholism, heavy metals, some prescription medications, nutritional/vitamin deficiency,such as low B12, B1 (thiamine) etc., inflammatory or autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, or infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis C or Lyme Disease. Various classifications are utilized based upon medical history, clinical exam and electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction (NCV) findings. These include small fiber or large fiber neuropathy, motor or sensory or autonomic neuropathy, mono or focal neuropathy such as carpal tunnel syndrome or meralgia paresthetica , symmetrical polyneuropathy, and primary demyelinating or axonal neuropathy. When multiple laboratory testing fails to elucidate the cause, a nerve or epidermal skin nerve density biopsy may be recommended by your neurologist. Treatment includes identification and management of the underlying disorder causing the problem, or symptomatic medication. These may include membrane stabilizing drugs also used as anti epileptic medications or drugs which augment neurotransmitters necessary for central pain inhibition, including drugs also used as antidepressants.

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The information presented on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Adherence to these guidelines will not ensure successful treatment in every situation. This information should not be considered inclusive of all accepted methods of care or exclusive of other methods of care reasonably directed to obtaining the same results. The ultimate judgment regarding the appropriateness of any specific procedure, therapy, or referral must be made by the physician in light of all circumstances presented by an individual patient.