- Peripheral – Relating to or situated on the edge of something. In the case of peripheral neuropathy, “peripheral” refers to the extremities of the body where the symptoms are most commonly felt. This includes feet, hands, legs and arms. Those with the condition experience one or several sensations in these peripheral areas of the body, including tingling or a feeling of electric-like shocks.
- Neuropathy – A disease or illness of the nerves. All cells in the body need oxygen to survive. When they don’t get enough oxygen, they lose their effectiveness and eventually die. Nerve cells are no different. If you have peripheral neuropathy, you will likely hear the term “neuropathy” often. Understand that it is referring to a dysfunction or disease of nerve cells.
- Nerve Biopsy – To determine if you do indeed have peripheral neuropathy, a doctor will perform a nerve biopsy to examine the state of your nerve cells. A small piece of tissue, usually from an ankle or wrist, will be removed and examined under a microscope. This is the most definitive method of telling whether a patient is suffering from peripheral neuropathy and not another medical condition.
- Diabetes Mellitus – One of the most common causes of neuropathy is diabetes. Changing levels of blood sugar have a direct impact on how much oxygen is reaching nerve cells. When nerve cells do not receive the oxygen they need, they essentially begin to break down, which leads to neuropathy. 60% of people who suffer from diabetes report symptoms of neuropathy.
- Recovery Game Plan – You do not have to live life with the uncomfortable burning or numbing sensation of peripheral neuropathy. At Arrowhead Health Centers, we work with our patients to develop a personalized game plan to help alleviate their symptoms and get them back on track.
Most people do not have any idea what peripheral neuropathy is until they or someone they are close to is diagnosed with the condition. They may have no idea that nerve cells can be damaged to a point that it causes communication breakdown resulting in uncomfortable tingling and numbness in their hands and feet. There are several neuropathy terms that a person might hear for the very first time once they learn that they have peripheral neuropathy. Here are 5 important terms that we feel are important to know: