This is damage caused to the nerves of the peripheral system. It can be caused by a disease or trauma to the nerves. Systematic illness can also be a cause of peripheral neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy has four patterns:
• Autonomic neuropathy
• Mononeuritis multiplex
Signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy:
A person who is suffering from peripheral neuropathy will experience a malfunction of the nervous system. For instance, they might experience loss of sensory functions such as gait abnormality, numbness and tremors. In some cases, the patient may experience gain in function in some of the sensory functions such as itching, tingling, etc. Some may be a bit too intense that the patient might require taking painkillers such as morphine or other narcotic drugs such as opioids.
The skin becomes hypersensitive to touch and patients may be prohibited from having certain parts of their bodies touched more so the feet. This degree of sensitivity makes the patient unable to wear any shoes or socks or even bed sheets touching their feet. As a result, most people may have to stay indoors.
Motor skills can also experience a loss of function. They may experience weakness, gait abnormalities or tiredness. They may also gain some of the functions but they come in extreme measures. For instance the patients may experience cramps, muscle twitching and tremors.
The patient may also experience myalgia which is muscle pain, cramping, etc. when a patient goes for a physical examination, patients who have peripheral neuropathies that are general experience a loss in either, distal, motor or sensory functioning. Ankle jerking reflex is usually not there in peripheral neuropathy.
What are the causes?
Some of the known causes of peripheral neuropathy include:
1. Genetic diseases such as Friedreich’s ataxia.
2. Metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus or liver failure
3. Intake of drugs, organic causes are some of the toxic causes of perihpoheral neuropathy
4. At times neuropathy is irreversible and is as a result of severe reaction to fluoroquinolone drugs
5. Inflammatory diseases such as leprosy, systemic lupus erythematosis are other causes for the disease
6. Severe deficiency in some vitamin minerals such as vitamin B12 or thiamin among others.
7. Physical trauma such as mutilation, electrocution and strokes
8. Treatments such as chemotherapy may also be a major cause of the disease
The patient can be prescribed to drugs in order to manage the neuropathic pain. The most commonly used types of drugs are antidepressants such as tricyclic antidepressant. These drugs are both effective and affordable.
Research has shown that smoking cannabis relieves some of the pain associated with the neuropathic disorder. This is especially effective for patients who are allergic to most types of medications. Patients who have suffered physical trauma such as injury to the spinal chord find smoking cannabis to relieve neuropathy as prescribed by a Doctor.
Patients that live in areas that experience winter reported having their symptoms to be more severe unlike when they lived in areas that had less harsh winters such as Florida or New Mexico.