Neuropathy is a term given to any condition punctuated by pain and malfunctioning of the nerves. Neuropathies can be caused by disease or physical injury of the nerves. Neuropathy result in overall decrease of functionality and resultant poor quality of life.
Classifications of Neuropathy
The classification of Neuropathies bases on a number of factors. You can solely base on the location or the type of causative factors. Basing on location of nerve affected neuropathies can be classified into, read more here.
i) Peripheral/Motor Neuropathy; Affects nerves of the extremities i.e. nerves away
from the brain and the spinal cord. Generally, the mostly affected nerves are
the toes, feet, & legs, and the fingers, hand, and arms.
ii) Cranial/Sensory Neuropathy: these are neuropathies that affect the Central
Nervous System (CNS). Common types include the Optic neuropathy affecting the
optic nerve and auditory neuropathy affecting the ear.
iii) Autonomic Neuropathy: Is the damage to nerves that are unconsciously/involuntarily
regulated. This could be nerves involved in heart regulation, breathing, sexual
response, and any other subconscious conditions.
Focal Neuropathy: is the kind of neuropathy that is localized on to one nerve or a group
of nerves in a particular locality. Or a specific area of the body.
Idiopathic Neuropathy: Is neuropathy whose cause is not known even after
This represents close to a third of global neuropathy incidences.
Symptoms of Neuropathies
- Numbness of affected regions
- Tingliness and burning sensation
- Pain and inflammation
- Weakness of muscles
- Impaired balance in some cases
Causes of Neuropathy
Diabetes: excessive blood sugars in the body over time will
damage the nerve fibers. This damage is usually indiscriminate. Any extremities
nerve can be damaged resulting in peripheral neuropathy. It is characterized by
numbness, painful feet, constipation, dizziness and if not checked could also
result in impotence.
Autoimmune diseases: this could be hereditary. Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Guillain-Barre
syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation of nerves hence
Vitamin B12 & Vitamin B9 deficiency: These two vitamins are very vital for the normal
functioning and health of nerve cells. Deficiency will result in nerve
degeneration and hence resulting in neuropathies.
Infective diseases such as Shingles, HIV/AID, Leprosy, and Syphilis have immense
potentials of damaging nerves. These conditions should be monitored and
progression immediately curbed.
Toxins and Poisons: Lead, mercury, arsenic, and organophosphates are the popular causes of
neuropathies. Also, some snake poisons, frog poisons, and other animal poisons
function by arresting the nervous system to impair nervous transmissions.
Tumors: These are dangerous causes since they directly cause pressure on the nerves and
it, therefore, results in neuropathic pains.
Trauma: Injury or pressure applied to a nerve can cause neuropathy
Other causes of Neuropathies
- Uremia: due to kidney failure cause accumulation of nerve-damaging toxins
- Amyloidosis: abnormal deposition of proteins in tissues may result in neuropathy
- Some drugs such antibiotic Isoniazid and metronidazole, and cancer drugs too
- Idiopathic neuropathies of unknown causes
Neurological evaluations for Neuropathies
Blood tests: tests vitamin deficiencies, immune responses, sugar levels, and toxin presence
EMG (Electromyography): pinpoints the neuromuscular junction damage
Nerve conduction Study: measures the efficiency and speed of nerve impulse transmission to identify the damaged nerves
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): Done to identify neuropathy due to trauma and
Lumbar Puncture: studies cerebral fluid to determine damage cause
Nerve or Muscle Biopsy: A piece of the nerve or muscle is taken for study.