Like many other health conditions, peripheral neuropathy can get progressively worse.
But, it’s not always easy to know how much damage you are actually dealing with.
There are different stages of neuropathy, and each stage isn’t always easy to recognize.
But you must know each stage and understand it to the best of your ability.
Treatment for peripheral neuropathy will help you deal with the pain, so it’s important that you start treatment as soon as possible.
In the article below, we will take a look at the five stages of neuropathy to help you understand and recognize each.
Stages of Neuropathy
If you notice symptoms in the early stages of neuropathy, it will be much easier for you to treat or even reverse the damage done to your nerves. Pay attention to the signs, especially in the first two stages to start getting the treatment you need. Learn what to look for.
First Stage: You Have Sporadic Pain and Numbness
The first stage of peripheral neuropathy is when you notice subtle symptoms every now and then.
These symptoms are usually felt in your hands or feet.
Many people brush off the symptoms in the first stage because the pain is only noticeable every once in a while, and it’s usually manageable.
The leading cause of neuropathy at this stage is excess sugar consumption, which is why it’s often called diabetic neuropathy.
If you notice symptoms at this stage, you should make dietary changes right away.
Cut out simple carbs, junk foods, sweets, and other hyperglycemic foods.
Second Stage: You symptoms Become More Regular
When your peripheral or diabetic neuropathy reaches stage two, your pain and numbness will be more consistent.
It’s hard to know for sure when you’ve moved from stage one to stage two, but a good sign is that you are noticing symptoms much more often than before.
Many people realize something is wrong in stage two, and they book an appointment with their doctor.
It’s very likely that when the underlying condition causing your neuropathy is treated, you can fully cure the nerve damage that has occurred in stage two.
But, stage two is often the point of no return.
If you progress into these next stages of neuropathy, you will often end up with permanent nerve damage.
Related Post: 5 Reasons Why Neuropathy is Worse on Some Days
Third Stage: Your Pain Peaks
Unlike the first two stages, in stage three, your symptoms of neuropathy are constant.
In stage three, your pain is almost unbearable.
This is when you start making lifestyle changes to work around it, especially if you have diabetic neuropathy.
The numbness in this stage starts to become dangerous as well.
Your numbness can become so severe that you will experience a loss of sensation in the affected nerves. That puts you at risk of getting burns and cuts unknowingly.
No matter what type of neuropathy you have, if you reach stage three, your injuries can lead to more severe infections, such as sepsis and gangrene.
In the most severe cases, these infections may lead to amputation or death, so you need to seek immediate medical care.
There’s a chance you will see positive changes if you change your diet right away. You may also need electrical nerve stimulation to ease your symptoms.
If you have diabetic neuropathy, you have to be especially wary of these symptoms, as diabetes patients are more susceptible to these infections.
Fourth Stage: You Have Constant Numbness
If you reach stage four, your legs and feet have likely become very numb because the damage to nerves becomes so severe that there will no longer be any healthy nerves left to carry signals to your brain.
Your pain actually starts to decline in stage four, but that’s not a good thing.
When your pain starts to progress, that’s a sign that your nerves are dying.
The relief will be nice, but it shows that your small nerve fibers have disintegrated, and your larger fibers will start to be damaged as well.
You will have less control over your balance because of this, and it may be harder for you to walk.
If you’ve reached stage four, your nerve damage is permanent.
You may see some improvement, but you will have to live with some numbness.
You should seek treatment as soon as you can for the condition that is causing your neuropathy.
If you have diabetic neuropathy, diabetes is the likely culprit.
And if it is diabetes, you’re probably already experiencing things like a loss of eyesight or kidney damage.
Fifth and Final Stage: You Have A Complete Loss of Feeling
In the last stage of neuropathy, the severity of neuropathy is so high that you may not feel like you have feet at all, and your quality of life has been impacted for the rest of your life.
This level of nerve damage has caused the nerves in your feet to be all but dead, making you incapable of walking without assistance, and many patients in this phase will need a wheelchair to move around.
This is when the risk of amputation and other related complications are at their highest.
Your doctor will have to do their best work to save the nerves you do have left.
After this stage, you will undoubtedly feel the effects of neuropathy for the rest of your life.
Before you ever notice symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, there are some measures you can take to prevent it. You can do things like:
- Manage your diabetes. Keeping your blood sugar levels within the ranges recommended by your doctor will help prevent diabetic neuropathy.
- Don’t Smoke. If you smoke, you need to stop smoking as soon as you can. Smoking will constrict your blood vessels that supply nutrients to your nerves. When your nerves aren’t getting these nutrients, neuropathy can worsen more rapidly.
- Review your medications. All patients with neuropathy need to over their medications with their doctor to make sure they won’t aggravate their symptoms. Many drugs can aggravate and even cause peripheral neuropathy.
- Take care of vitamin deficiencies. Vitamin B and other vitamins are essential vitamins needed to keep your nervous system healthy.
- Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein to keep your nerves healthy. To protect against vitamin deficiencies, eat meats, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy foods, and fortified cereals. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, fortified cereals will be a great source of vitamin B-12, but you may want to talk to your doctor about B-12 supplements.
- Exercise regularly. After getting the okay from your doctor, try to exercise for at least 30 minutes to one hour at least three times a week.
- Avoid activities that may cause nerve damage. These activities include repetitive motions, cramped positions, exposure to toxic chemicals, smoking, and overindulging in alcohol.
Do You Need Help with Neuropathy?
If you’re dealing with peripheral or diabetic neuropathy, you should work with a medical professional experienced with the condition.
In the early stages of neuropathy, you can start treatment and make changes that can better reduce the never damage done. If you catch it in one of the later stages of neuropathy, we have treatment options that will help manage your symptoms and reduce your pain to get back to enjoying your life.
Ethos Health Group will perform a series of non-invasive tests that tell us what stage you are in and what options exist for you.
Ethos Health Group has treatment programs that consist of cutting-edge, non-invasive therapies designed to stimulate new blood vessels’ growth to help reverse nerve damage in the feet or hands.
If you’re ready to find relief from your neuropathy, you should contact Ethos Health Group as soon as possible.
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