It has been estimated that over 20 million people in the United States experience some form of peripheral neuropathy (PN). This is a condition that develops as a result of damage to the peripheral nervous system, which greatly reduces the relaying of messages to and from the brain to other parts of the body. Those who have peripheral neuropathy report having burning, tingling and numbing sensations in their hands and feet.
What are the causes of peripheral neuropathy?
Because there are a number of different factors that can cause peripheral neuropathy, it can be difficult to pinpoint an exact origin. Patients can acquire PN through one of three methods: acquired, hereditary, and idiopathic.
Acquired Peripheral Neuropathy
These are the most common causes of PN. Environmental factors, including toxins, trauma, illness or infection can cause peripheral neuropathy to show up in some people. Some of the most common causes of acquired peripheral neuropathy include the following:
- Rare Inherited Diseases
- Poor Nutrition
- Vitamin Deficiency
- Certain Medications
- Kidney or Thyroid Disease
- Autoimmune Infections
Hereditary Peripheral Neuropathy
While much less common than acquired neuropathy, hereditary peripheral neuropathy is still as damaging and can be just as dangerous. These are diseases of the peripheral nerves that are passed down genetically from parent to child. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type-1 is the most common of these diseases and can cause weakness in the legs and arms. The symptoms of this disease typically appear between childhood and age 30. It is caused by the degeneration of insulation that surrounds nerves, helping them to conduct electrical impulses that are needed to trigger muscle movement.
Idiopathic Peripheral Neuropathy
These are neuropathies that stem from an unknown cause. It is reported that up to a third neuropathies are classified this way. Of the three categories, Arrowhead Health Centers works most frequently with those who have acquired peripheral neuropathy and are looking for an effective treatment program to manage the symptoms. While there is no known cure for peripheral neuropathy, there are therapies that are continuing to be improved upon that can slow the rate that PN spreads or gets worse.
Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy
Because there are several different treatments available for those who experience symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, our goal is to create a customized plan of treatment to help you deal with your symptoms. Knowing and having a basic understanding of the cause of the issue can better help your team of specialists know how to approach the recovery plan.