It’s estimated that about 20 million Americans are suffering from peripheral neuropathy, although the condition is believed to be underdiagnosed.
Neuropathy is a painful and disruptive condition that is due to poor nerve health.
Since the signs of nerve damage can vary significantly, many people might not know that they’re experiencing signs of nerve damage.
If you miss the warning signs of neuropathy you may start treatment too late.
But when symptoms reach their worst, pain and discomfort can be so constant and intense that it keeps you up at night.
Many people are unable to work, drive, or enjoy their favorite activities.
In the article below, we will go over the early warning signs of neuropathy so you can begin treatment before the pain gets too extreme.
What Is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is when the nerves that carry messages to and from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body become damaged or diseased.
Your peripheral nerves are an intricate network that connects the brain and spinal cord to your muscles, skin, and internal organs.
Damage to a nerve can typically be tracked to specific areas of the body.
Damage to the nerves interrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body, impairing muscle movement, preventing normal sensation in the arms and legs, and causing pain.
Causes of Neuropathy
30-40% of neuropathy cases are idiopathic.
That means that they don’t have a discernable cause.
About another 30% of diagnosed cases are caused by diabetes.
If you have diabetes, your doctor should be checking for signs of nerve damage at every appointment.
The other potential causes of neuropathy include:
- Physical trauma
- Autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Vitamin deficiency
- Viral and bacterial infections
- Bone marrow disorders
Your risk of neuropathy is higher if you abuse alcohol.
Some medications, such as chemotherapy, can also increase your risk of neuropathy.
Early Warning Signs Of Neuropathy
Not all cases of peripheral neuropathy present symptoms in the early stages, making early detection even more difficult.
However, you should still be on the lookout for any of the following common symptoms, especially if you have any common risk factors for neuropathy.
- Tingling in the feet. If your foot “feels asleep” more than it should, or the tingling or sensation loss is more frequent, more severe, or doesn’t go away, it could be a sign of nerve damage.
- Unexplained sensations or pain. You may also notice burning sensations, sudden “electric shock” pain, itchiness, hypersensitivity to touch or temperature, or other sensory issues that don’t seem to have an apparent cause.
- Balance issues. Your sensory nerves aren’t the only type of nerves that can be impacted by neuropathy. Your motor nerves that control the muscles and movement in the feet and legs can also be affected. If you’re losing sensation in your feet, you may be less likely to remain stable.
- Injuries you don’t notice or won’t get better. Neuropathy can blunt your ability to feel pain. You might not see cuts or injuries until after you’ve been walking on them for a while. Neuropathy is often caused by the same factors that suppress circulation and immune health, so the injuries may be slower to heal and be more likely to get infected.
If you notice these symptoms, it’s always wise to get a complete checkup, especially if you have any known risk factors for neuropathy.
Risk Factors For Neuropathy
Diabetes is the most common risk factor for peripheral neuropathy.
Many people with diabetes will develop diabetic nerve pain at some point.
People with diabetes have trouble managing their blood sugar levels, leading to inflammation that can deprive nerves of oxygen and nutrients.
That often leads to nerve degradation and neuropathy.
About half of everyone with diabetes eventually develops some form of neuropathy that can lead to chronic nerve pain if it isn’t taken care of.
But neuropathy can also result from an accident, illness, or other physical trauma that can damage nerves.
Autoimmune diseases are associated with neuropathy. These can include:
- Celiac disease
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
- Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy
- Guillain-Barré syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Abusing alcohol and smoking can damage circulation to the feet and extremities, leading to nerve damage over time.
If a cause can’t be determined, it’s known as idiopathic neuropathy.
Want to know more about neuropathy? Check out: Ways to calm down neuropathy
Contact Ethos Health Group
If you notice any early warning signs of neuropathy, you need to see your doctor and devise a care plan.
Together you can manage your symptoms and reduce your pain to get back to enjoying your life.
At Ethos Health Group, we’ll perform a series of non-invasive tests that tell us just how much your neuropathy has progressed and what options exist for you.
The treatment programs at Ethos Health Group 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.
Click the button below to schedule your free consultation.