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Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy: Introduction

Peripheral neuropathy is an abnormal condition in which the peripheral nerves are damaged. The peripheral nerves spread out from the brain and spinal cord, and peripheral neuropathy results in unusual or abnormal sensations of the extremities, especially the feet.

Peripheral neuropathy is a common condition and can result from certain metabolic disorders, infections, malignancy, inflammation, vitamin deficiencies, toxins, inherited conditions, and other abnormal processes. A very common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes. Other causes of peripheral neuropathy include alcoholism, vasculitis, vitamin B deficiency, vitamin E deficiency, chemotherapy, and exposure to certain toxins, such as insecticides, lead, mercury, and arsenic.

Peripheral neuropathy generally develops slowly over a period of months. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include a sensation of pain, numbness, tingling, or prickling that begins in the feet. In later stages of peripheral neuropathy, the hands can be affected as well. In some cases, the abnormal sensations can extend to the arms, legs, and trunk. Peripheral neuropathy can also affect the muscles resulting in weakness and atrophy. There are other symptoms that can accompany peripheral neuropathy, depending on the disease, disorder or condition that causing it. For more details about symptoms and complications, see symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.

Diagnosing peripheral neuropathy and its root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination, including a neurological examination. A neurological exam evaluates the nervous system and such functions as reflexes, sensation, movement, balance, coordination, vision, and hearing.

Tests may include an electromyography (EMG) which tests the nerve and electrical activity of muscles. A nerve conduction test may also be performed to test how fast the nerves transmit impulses.

Making a diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy also includes performing a variety of other tests to help to diagnose the underlying disease, condition or disorder that is causing peripheral neuropathy. A biopsy of a nerve in the ankle may be performed. This involves taking a small sample of the nerve to examine under a microscope.

Other tests may include blood tests to check for vitamin deficiencies and blood glucose testing to check for diabetes.

A diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy and its cause can easily be delayed or missed because symptoms develop very gradually. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of peripheral neuropathy.

Treatment of peripheral neuropathy involves diagnosing and treating the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Some conditions can be easily and successfully treated and cured, while others may require more intensive treatment and may not have an optimal prognosis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of peripheral neuropathy. ...more »

Peripheral neuropathy: Peripheral neuropathy is a common neurological disorder resulting from damage to the peripheral nerves. It may be caused by diseases of the nerves or as the ... more about Peripheral neuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy: Peripheral neuropathy is the term for damage to nerves of the peripheral nervous system, which may be caused either by diseases of the nerve or from the side-effects of systemic illness. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Peripheral neuropathy is available below.

Peripheral neuropathy: Symptoms

People with peripheral neuropathy can experience a variety of symptoms, commonly abnormal or unusual sensations. These include sensations of pain, numbness, pins and needles, tingling, or prickling that begins in the feet. In later stages, the hands can be affected as well. In some cases, the abnormal sensations can extend to the arms, legs, and trunk. Peripheral neuropathy ...more symptoms »

Peripheral neuropathy: Treatments

Treatment plans for peripheral neuropathy are individualized depending on the cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age of the patient, and other factors. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that addresses the underlying cause and helps to minimize the pain and abnormal sensations of peripheral neuropathy and the risk of developing ...more treatments »

Peripheral neuropathy: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy and its cause may be delayed or missed because peripheral neuropathy generally develops very gradually and people with the condition may be unaware of it. Peripheral neuropathy is a symptom of many different conditions, so a thorough medical evaluation is needed to ensure an accurate diagnosis of the reason for peripheral neuropathy. ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Peripheral neuropathy

Treatments for Peripheral neuropathy

  • Treatment depends on the underlying cause
  • Chromium - possibly used for treatment of related chromium deficiency
  • Vitamin B1 - possibly used for related vitamin B1 deficiency
  • Vitamin B6 - possibly used for related vitamin B6 deficiency
  • No medical treatments now exist that can cure inherited peripheral neuropathy. However, there are therapies for many other forms. Any underlying condition is treated first, followed by symptomatic treatment. Peripheral nerves have the ability to regenerate, as long as the nerve cell itself has not been killed. Symptoms often can be controlled, and eliminating the causes of specific forms of neuropathy often can prevent new damage
  • more treatments...»

Home Diagnostic Testing

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Wrongly Diagnosed with Peripheral neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy: Related Patient Stories

Alternative Treatments for Peripheral neuropathy

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Peripheral neuropathy may include:

Types of Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy: Complications

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Causes of Peripheral neuropathy

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Disease Topics Related To Peripheral neuropathy

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Peripheral neuropathy:

Peripheral neuropathy: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

In-Depth Reports: Diagnosis and Misdiagnosis

Diabetes diagnosis and misdiagnosis (In-Depth Report): Detailed report on diabetes misdiagnoses, rare curable types, and less common diagnostic full report »

Misdiagnosis and Peripheral neuropathy

Metabolic syndrome often undiagnosed: Metabolic syndrome, also known as Syndrome X, is an often overlooked medical condition that causes a cluster of more »

Heart attacks can be undiagnosed: Although the most severe symptoms of heart attack are hard to miss, there are varying degrees of severity. more »

Heart attacks can be overdiagnosed: Although many people die from heart attacks, there are also many cases where people fear that they have a heart attack, but actually have something milder. Some of the conditions more »

Underactive thryoid may be misdiagnosed as depression: Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, is an endocrine gland disorder that is more common in women. It can mimic many diseases, including depression. more »

Cluster of diseases with difficult diagnosis issues: There is a well-known list of medical conditions that are all somewhat difficult to diagnose, and all can present in a variety of different severities. Diseases in more »

Poorly healing leg rashes a classic sign of chronic disease: Recurring leg rashes, or poorly healing leg rashes, are a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes, particularly of Type 2 diabetes, but also Type 1 diabetes. more »

Leg cramps at night a classic sign: The symptom of having leg muscle cramps, particularly at night, is a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes. However, there are also various other causes. See causes of leg cramps or more »

Obesity-related conditions undiagnosed in children: A variety of conditions are associated with obesity (see obesity), but these tend to be undiagnosed more often in child patients than in adults. Some of the more »

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as more »

Peripheral neuropathy: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Peripheral neuropathy

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Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Peripheral neuropathy, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Peripheral neuropathy: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Peripheral neuropathy

Medical research articles related to Peripheral neuropathy include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Peripheral neuropathy: Animations

Prognosis for Peripheral neuropathy

Prognosis for Peripheral neuropathy: Timely treatment of injury can help prevent permanent damage. Self-care skills such as meticulous foot care and careful wound treatment in people with diabetes and others who have an impaired ability to feel pain can alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. Such changes often create conditions that encourage nerve regeneration.

Research about Peripheral neuropathy

Visit our research pages for current research about Peripheral neuropathy treatments.

Statistics for Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy: Broader Related Topics

Peripheral neuropathy Message Boards

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User Interactive Forums

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Article Excerpts about Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a common neurological disorder resulting from damage to the peripheral nerves. It may be caused by diseases of the nerves or as the result of systemic illnesses. (Source: excerpt from NINDS Peripheral Neuropathy Information Page: NINDS)

Definitions of Peripheral neuropathy:

Diseases of the peripheral nerves external to the brain and spinal cord, which includes diseases of the nerve roots, ganglia, plexi, autonomic nerves, sensory nerves, and motor nerves. - (Source - Diseases Database)


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