What Are the Most Common Causes of Neuropathy?

As many as 20 million Americans suffer from neuropathy, a condition in which your central nervous system and the other parts of your body get confused. Peripheral neuropathy includes more than 100 types — “peripheral” refers to your extremities, which are usually affected by the condition.

Symptoms of neuropathy include pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling in your hands and feet or other parts of your body. But neuropathy can also affect the nerves that control body parts, including your blood vessels, genitals, and urinary tract. Symptoms range from mild to completely disabling.

Sometimes, neuropathy has no identifiable cause. But in many cases, neuropathy can be traced to a specific chronic disease, infection, or other triggering factor.

Diabetes

Diabetic neuropathy is the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy, with 60-70% of diabetics suffering from some form of the condition. The high blood sugar associated with diabetes damages the walls of blood vessels that feed the nerves in your hands, feet, eyes, kidneys, and heart. Diabetics consequently lose sensation in their feet and hands and may suffer complications associated with the organs.

Kidney or liver disease

If you suffer from chronic kidney disease, the imbalance of salts and chemicals or other toxins in your body can interfere with your nerves and cause neuropathy.

Injuries

You may experience neuropathy as a result of broken bones or tight casts. The injury — or treatment, in some cases — puts excessive pressure on your nerves, causing a loss of sensation. Often, an injury leads to a single nerve neuropathy (mononeuropathy).

Autoimmune disorders

Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, and lupus are autoimmune conditions in which your body attacks itself and can entrap nerves. These conditions can sometimes cause neuropathy.

Guillain-Barré syndrome

Guillain-Barré syndrome describes a condition in which your body attacks your nerves. It’s an autoimmune condition with the first symptoms being weakness and tingling in your hands and feet. In a short time, the numbness and tingling spreads and may paralyze your whole body.

Infections

Any number of serious infections that cause disease may result in temporary or long-term neuropathy. These include shingles, Lyme disease, and HIV.

Cancer and tumors

Some types of cancer, including multiple myeloma and lymphoma, can cause neuropathy as a side effect. Depending on their location, benign tumors (meaning they’re not cancerous) can also cause neuropathic pain.

Other causes

Alcoholics can develop peripheral neuropathy as a result of excessive, chronic drinking. Drugs taken for chemotherapy, HIV, and certain other conditions can also be a cause. If you’re exposed to specific insecticides or solvents, you may experience a negative effect on your nervous system.

Nutrition deficiencies, specifically vitamin B12 and folate, can also cause the tingling and weakness associated with neuropathy.

With a convenient location in Henderson, Nevada, St. Rose Integrative Medical Center provides an expert team to evaluate your neuropathy symptoms and help determine the cause. Treatment depends on the findings of the doctor, but you can be assured of receiving the best possible care regardless of the cause of your neuropathy.

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