what is neuropathy

What is Neuropathy?

Neuropathy usually refers to general diseases of the nerves. Nerves can be damaged due to injury or disease.

What Causes Neuropathy?

Diabetes – This condition is most commonly associated with neuropathy. This condition is referred to as diabetic neuropathy. The risk of having this disease rises with age and duration of diabetes. 

Neuropathy is most common in individuals that have had diabetes for decades. Those who have difficulty controlling their diabetes, or those who are overweight or have elevated blood lipids and high blood pressure.

Vitamin Deficiencies – Vitamin deficiencies such as deficiency in B12 and folate as well as other B vitamins can cause damage to the nerves.

Autoimmune NeuropathyRheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, and Guillain-Barre syndrome can cause neuropathies.

Infection – Some infections can cause nerve damage including Lyme disease, leprosy, and syphilis.

Postherpetic neuralgia – This is a complication of shingles and is a form of neuropathy

Alcoholic Neuropathy – This may arise due to a combination of damage to  the nerves by alcohol and poor nutrition and associated vitamin deficiencies that may stem from alcoholism.

Genetic or inherited disorders – Some disorders that can affect the nerves include Friedreich’s ataxia and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

Amyloidosis – This is a condition where abnormal protein fibers are deposited in the tissues and organs and can lead to organ damage that may contribute to the cause of neuropathy.

Uremia – A high concentration of waste in the blood due to kidney failure.

Toxins and poisons  – Toxic substances that can cause neuropathy include, gold compounds, lead, arsenic, mercury, some industrial solvents, nitrous oxide, and organophosphate pesticides.

Drugs or medication – Certain drugs and medications can cause nerve damage. Examples include cancer therapy drugs and some antibiotics.

Trauma/Injury Prolonged pressure on a nerve group, trauma to nerves and decreased blood flow to nerves can lead to long-term damage.

TumorsBenign tumors of the nerves or nearby structures may damage the nerves directly by invading the nerves or putting pressure on nerves.

Idiopathic This term is used when no cause for nerve issue has been established. Cause unknown.

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