What Causes Neuropathy?

Reviewed on 9/16/2020

The neuropathy may be acquired or hereditary.
The neuropathy may be acquired or hereditary.

The neuropathy may be acquired or hereditary. Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is the most common hereditary neuropathy and causes weakness in the foot and lower-leg muscles.

  • Acquired neuropathies can be due to multiple causes. Acquired neuropathy is the most common neuropathy seen in the patients.

Causes of acquired peripheral neuropathy include:

What is neuropathy?

Neuropathy is the damage or dysfunction of the nerves. Nerves are the fibers that transmit sensations to the brain or spinal cord. Any nerve damage results in tingling, weakness of the muscle it is connected to, and numbness and pain in the affected area.

There are different types of neuropathy based on the number of nerves affected, which include:

  • Mononeuropathy: Only one nerve is affected.
  • Multifocal neuropathy: A combination of nerves in a limited area is affected.
  • Polyneuropathy: Multiple nerves throughout the bodies are affected.

Who gets neuropathy?

Neuropathy affects approximately 25% to 30% of Americans. People of all ages are affected by neuropathy; however, elderly people are at increased risk. Factors associated with increased chances of neuropathy are:

What are the symptoms of neuropathy?

The symptoms of neuropathy mostly depend on causes. The most common symptoms of neuropathy include:

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How is neuropathy diagnosed?

The physician takes the history of the patient and conducts a thorough physical examination. Along with this, the physician also performs:

How is neuropathy treated?

The management of neuropathy involves treating the underlying conditions. Hence, it is necessary to first diagnose the cause.

Medications used for treating neuropathy include:

Other therapies include:

  • Physical therapy involves a combination of exercise and massage
  • Occupational therapy
  • Surgery to remove tumors or relieve nerve compression
  • Mechanical aids, such as braces, casts, splints, and specially designed shoes
  • Adopting a healthier diet
  • Lifestyle changes that include limiting alcohol intake and quitting smoking

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References
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14737-neuropathy/management-and-treatment

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Peripheral-Neuropathy-Fact-Sheet#3208_4

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