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What is Neuropathy and How is it Treated?

Neuropathy is a condition that develops when arms, hands, and feet are damaged. Approximately 1 in 10 people have this condition and it can be hard to live with. 

Affecting the peripheral nervous system, the nerves that are found outside the spinal cord and brain become damaged. 

Symptoms of Neuropathy

Some of the symptoms of Neuropathy include:

  • A burning, shooting, or stabbing pain in the affected areas 
  • A loss of coordination and balance
  • Tingling and numbness in the hands or feet
  • Muscle weakness, particularly in the feet

Symptoms can differ from person-to-person. However, anyone with this condition should see their doctor regularly. 

Treatment of Neuropathy

Treating this condition can include treating the symptoms as well as the cause. Many people with Neuropathy have diabetes. Controlling the diabetes may help with their Neuropathy, or help to prevent it from getting worse. 

– The underlying causes

There are quite a few different causes of Neuropathy. Some of these causes can be treated in a variety of ways. 

  • Seeing a physical therapist to help you with your muscle strength
  • Cutting down on alcohol consumption, exercising regularly, and being a healthy weight
  • If the condition is caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency, tablets or injections may help
  • Taking steroids if necessary
  • Taking immunosuppressants that can help to reduce the immune system’s activity
  • Receiving injections of immunoglobulin, which can help to boost the number of antibodies that the immune system makes 

Relieving Pain

Many people with this condition experience nerve pain. Unfortunately, nerve pain does not always get better when common painkillers are taken. If this is the case, you may be offered other medications. 

Your doctor could prescribe medication, starting with a low dose. The dosage will be gradually increased until you start to notice them having an effect on your pain. 

The Causes of Neuropathy

One of the most common causes of Neuropathy is Diabetes. However, it can also be caused by some medications and conditions. However, there may not be an obvious cause for your Neuropathy.

– Diabetes

Type 1 or 2 Diabetes can occasionally cause Neuropathy. It’s likely that the condition is caused by high blood sugar levels. When levels are high, the blood vessels that supply your nerves are damaged. The longer you have Diabetes, the more likely you are to have Neuropathy. 

– Other health conditions

Other conditions that can cause Neuropathy can include:

  • An underactive thyroid
  • Chronic kidney or liver disease 
  • Damage to the nerves from an injury or even surgery 
  • Some cancers such as multiple myeloma and lymphoma
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Health conditions that can cause the immune system to become overactive. These conditions include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, and Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Some infections such as shingles, HIV, diptheria, Lyme disease, and botulism

If you think you might have Neuropathy, please speak to your doctor. The sooner you do, the sooner you can get the help you need. 

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