What is Neuropathy?
The term neuropathy is often used to describe a loss of nerve function along with the associated muscle spasms, decreased bladder control, and numbness in the lower extremities. However, nerve damage can affect the central or mental functions as well as physical functions.
Unfortunately, the signs and symptoms of neuropathy are often subtle. Many people with neuropathy don’t realize they have a problem until they start to lose their muscle control. As the disease advances, the person’s ability to walk or perform daily tasks is reduced. This can happen very quickly, in as little as 6 months. In some cases, people with lower extremity neuropathy may not notice any symptoms for years as mentioned in Nervogen pro reviews.
How Common is Neuropathy?
The incidence of neuropathy is estimated to be 1 in 7 people in the U.S. As with most chronic diseases, the higher your socio-economic status (SES), the more likely you are to be diagnosed with neuropathy. People with low SES are also more likely to develop neuropathy.
What Does Neuropathy Do to the Body?
Because nerve damage affects so many systems in the body, it can have a huge impact on your health. Damage to the peripheral nervous system affects your muscles, glands, and organs. It can also affect central or mental functions. The physical changes that occur as a result of neuropathy are relatively minor. These include muscle spasms, muscle weakness, and a decrease in sensation in the muscles that make up the lower extremities. However, nerve damage can also affect your mood, and cognition (ability to think and reason), and increase your risk for developing other conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and liver disease.
What causes neuropathy?
There are a number of different theories as to why nerve damage occurs and what causes it. Some of the main causes of nerve damage are:
Inherited disorders like muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, and serotonin-related conditions like narcolepsy can cause neuropathy. Nerve damage can also result from:
Excessive alcohol and drug use
Infections such as syphilis, Epstein-Barr, and herpes
Medications like chemotherapy, insulin, and anabolic steroids
Weak immune system
Blunt and heavy objects
Automobiles and other vehicles
What does neuropathy feel like?
Pain is the most common sign that you have neuropathy. However, there are a variety of other symptoms that occur as a result of nerve damage. These can be mild or moderate, depending on the extent of the nerve damage. Mood changes, often described as depressed or low, are also common in people with neuropathy.
How is Neuropathy diagnosed?
The diagnosis of neuropathy is based on your medical and social history, as well as your physical examination. Your doctor will take your symptoms and test them against a list of possible diseases to see if a match is found. You may have to provide a sample of your blood, urine, or other specimens to help rule out other diseases. Your doctor also may test your reflexes to help identify your underlying condition.
How is neuropathy treated?
The goal of treatment is to slow or stop the progression of the condition. As the name suggests, slowing the progression of neuropathy is the main idea behind the treatment. Most treatments are aimed at reducing the amount of pain caused by the condition. Medications can treat nerve pain, decrease the frequency of pain attacks, and decrease the intensity of pain. You should also consider engaging in any of the following:
Maintaining a healthy weight
Getting enough sleep
Keeping stress under control
When is a diagnosis of neuropathy recommended?
Most experts recommend diagnosing neuropathy early in order to implement preventative measures. Typically, this is done when you first notice any of the following:
Decreased bowel or bladder control
Numbness or tingling in the lower extremities
There may be a delay of several months before you are formally diagnosed with neuropathy.
Neuropathy is a condition that results from damage to the peripheral nervous system. It is often caused by a disease but also can happen on its own. The main symptoms of neuropathy are muscle spasms, muscle weakness, and a decrease in sensation in the muscles that make up the lower extremities.
If you have been diagnosed with neuropathy, you should know that it is treatable. There are a number of medications and exercises that can help with the symptoms.
However, you should also be aware of your risk of developing the condition and take steps to reduce it. That way, you can prevent suffering from neuropathy in the first place!
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