Neuropathy is a condition in which the nervous system of the body is affected. Neuropathy could have many causes; it may be caused because of a disease, an infection, medications, an injury, alcohol abuse, vitamin deficiency, etc. However, sometimes, a cause for neuropathy cannot be found. About 8 percent of people who are aged above 55 are affected with one or more neuropathy symptoms.
Neuropathy symptoms are often unpredictable and are hard to diagnose because of the wide variety of symptoms it can bring about and also because the symptoms differ considerably from person to person. For some, neuropathy symptoms can be a mild irritation, while for some it can be a suffering nightmare. Delay in diagnosis results in disability, or in rare cases, leads to death.
Types of neuropathy
The three types of nerves affected by neuropathy are sensory nerves, motor nerves, and autonomic nerves. There are times when a single nerve gets affected. This condition is also called as mono-neuropathy and examples for this include ulnar neuropathy, radial neuropathy, peroneal neuropathy, femoral neuropathy, and cervical neuropathy. Sometimes, multiple nerves too can malfunction; and this condition is called as polyneuropathy.
The most common symptom of a motor nerve neuropathy is muscle weakness, but you may also experience many other symptoms like muscle pain, muscle cramping, uncontrolled muscle twitching, muscle loss, bone degeneration, changes to the skin, hair, and nails. Neuropathies disturbing the sensory nerves often result in more complex symptoms like numbness, loss of coordination and balance, hampered reflexes, burning sensations, heightened sensitivity to pain or touch, or the inability to feel pain, tingling sensation, neuropathic pain.
Common symptoms that you may experience in case of autonomic neuropathy are diarrhea or constipation, incontinence, altered heart rate, abnormal blood pressure, which results in dizziness and lightheadedness, especially when rising from a standing position, erectile dysfunction, overactive or underactive sweat glands, dryness of the eyes and mouth, and difficulty eating or swallowing.
After reading the list of causes of neuropathy, you will now know why the diagnosis of neuropathy is necessary. In case you experience any symptoms, consult a neurologist right away for a diagnosis.