What is Neuropathy, Peripheral Neuropathy, Polyneuropathy and Diabetic Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a non-reversible disease caused by nerve damage (damage to the nervous system) that creates pain, mostly in hands and feet. Burning, tingling, numbness and the walking on pins-and-needles sensation are also symptoms of Neuropathy. Due to the symptoms of neuropathies, standing, walking, or holding objects for long periods of time can be difficult. While there is no cure for neuropathy, there are numerous neuropathy treatment options available.
First off, it is difficult to define Neuropathy because it is used to classify a number of general diseases. Neuropathy types are defined by body part or cause and occasionally both ( ex. Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy). These general diseases involve damage to the nervous system (damage to nerves anywhere in your body). Nerve damage can be caused by injury just as much as it can result from disease. It can be caused by chemotherapy, alcohol, Diabetes, and more. Because the nerve(s) has damage, it creates pain, numbness, tingling, burning, and weakness. Neuropathy symptoms can make a significant impact in your day-to-day life if left unmanaged. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Neuropathy is common, surveys estimate 3 million cases per year or 8% of people over 55.
Most Common Neuropathies
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral Neuropathy is another type of Neuropathy that creates the pain symptoms of numbness, burning, tingling, etc in, most commonly, hands and feet. However, it can include arms, feet, fingers, hands, legs, and toes. Peripheral Neuropathy means the nerve damage occurred to the peripheral nervous system. Therefore, it affects the nerves on the outside of the spine and brain.
What is Polyneuropathy?
Polyneuropathy is peripheral neuropathy that occurs on both sides of the body (right and left) in the same are. So, Peripheral Neuropathy in the right hand, would be Polyneuropathy in both hands.
What is Diabetic Neuropathy?
Diabetic Neuropathy is permanent damage to the nervous system because of Diabetes. The damage creates problems in the nerves which turns into burning, tingling, numbness, and weakness. Most often this occurs in the hands and feet. Some estimate Diabetes patients suffer from Neuropathy 50-70% of the time. The better a patient can manage their Diabetes the more they will be able to manage their Neuropathy. Treatment for Diabetic Neuropathy can be medication, cream, physical therapy, exercises or more.
Read more about types of Neuropathies
If you’ve been diagnosed with Neuropathy by your doctor or you are researching your symptoms, Neuropathy is always easier to manage the earlier it is caught. If you believe you have Neuropathy, it’s important to see a doctor and start their recommended treatment as soon as possible.
Remember that it is okay to get second opions from doctors on how you should treat your Neuropathy. While most physicians will prescribe medication right away for pain and other symptoms, it is important to remember that there are also holistic measures that can and should be used in combination with medication. Physical therapy is one of the best long term ways to manage your Neuropathy symptoms while reducing or eliminating pain medication.
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