By Joseph Conrad

Neuropathy occurs as an outcome of damage to the peripheral nerves. The illness usually causes pain and numbness in your feet and hands, and can also affect other parts of your body. Peripheral neuropathy is due to traumatic infections, injuries, metabolic difficulties, exposure to toxins and genetic causes [1]. One of the most contributing factors is diabetes mellitus.

Individuals with neuropathy usually describe the disease as having characteristics of tingling, stabbing, and burning. Symptoms of this disease may get better if treated with adequate medications. Proper treatment of neuropathy can lessen the pain of peripheral symptoms.

Symptoms of Neuropathy Disease

Every kind of nerve in the peripheral system of a person has a unique role, so the signs of this disease depend on the category of the nerve impacted. Nerves of the body are grouped into the following classes:

  • Sensory nerves: these are nerves which receive sensation. This include touch, temperature, pain, or vibration from the skin.
  • Motor nerve: these are nerves that regulate the movement of the muscle.
  • Autonomic nerves: these nerves dictate noble functions in the body such as the bladder, blood pressure, digestion, and heart rate.

Symptoms and signs of peripheral neuropathy include the following:

  • A regular onset of prickling, numbness, or tingling in your hands, or feet, which can extend upwardly into your arms and legs.
  • Throbbing, sharp, freezing, burning pain, or jabbing in the body.
  • Having deep sensitivity to touch.
  • Falling and absence of coordination.
  • Paralysis and muscle weakness if the motor nerves are altered with.

If the automatic nerves are affected, the symptoms may include the following:

  • Altered sweating and heat intolerance.
  • Digestive difficulties, bowel, and bladder.
  • Unusual changes in blood pressure, resulting in lightheadedness or dizziness.

Peripheral neuropathy can affect 1 nerve, 2 or more nerves in various areas or multiple nerves [2]. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a real demonstration of mononeuropathy. A large number of people with peripheral neuropathy suffer from polyneuropathy.

When to see a doctor

Seek treatment right away if you experience unusual pain, tingling, or weakness in the feet or the hands. Early treatment gives the best opportunity for regulating symptoms and preventing extensive damage to the peripheral nerves [3].


Causes of neuropathy include the following:.

  • Autoimmune diseases: these include necrotizing vasculitis, sjogren’s syndrome, arthritis, lupus, Guillain-Barre syndrome, polyneuropathy, and chronic inflammatory demyelinating diseases.
  • Diabetes: More than half of persons suffering from diabetes suffer from neuropathy.
  • Exposure to poisons: toxic materials like chemicals and heavy metals can cause neuropathy.
  • Medications: some medications, including those that treat cancer, can result in peripheral neuropathy.
  • Infections: these include some bacteria or viral infections, which include HIV, Lyme disease, leprosy, hepatitis C, Epstein-Barr virus, and diphtheria.
  • Inherited disorders:  disorders like charcot-marie tooth illness are genetically kinds of neuropathy.
  • Pressure or trauma on the nerve: trauma resulting from road accidents, sports injuries, and falls can lead to the damage of peripheral nerves.
  • Tumors: noncancerous and cancerous growths can cause neuropathy disease
  • Vitamin deficiencies: B vitamins, including B- 1, B-6, and B-12,  and niacin are vital to the health of the nerves.
  • Bone marrow disorders: these include non-required protein in the blood, a formation of bone cancer, amyloidosis, and lymphoma.
  • Other diseases: this may include liver disease, kidney disease, underactive thyroid, and connective tissue disorders.

Risk Factors

Peripheral neuropathy disease risk factors include the following:

  • Diabetes mellitus, specifically if the sugar levels are not controlled.
  • Alcohol abuse.
  • Vitamin deficiencies, like vitamin B deficiency.
  • Infections like Lyme disease, hepatitis C, HIV, Epstein-Barr virus, and shingles.
  • Autoimmune diseases, like lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, which the immune system damages the tissues of the body.
  • Thyroid, liver, and kidney disorders.
  • Exposure to toxins.
  • Reoccurrence of motions like those done for specific jobs.
  • Genetic history of the neuropathy.


Complications of peripheral neuropathy include:

  • Skin and burns trauma: an individual might not feel pain or temperature changes in the body parts that are numb.
  • Infection: a person can lose sensations at the feet and other areas. It is advisable to be keen whenever a person has minor injuries especially for people suffering from diabetes mellitus [4].
  • Falls: loss of sensation and weakness may be related to falling and lack of balance.

Neuropathy Treatment

Antidepressant and anticonvulsant drugs are the frequent lines of treatment. Some neuropathic experts say that some drugs, such as Motrin and Aleve, may lessen the pain. A group of people suffering from this disease may need some strong pain killers. Prescription drugs can also be used as a second line of treatment for neuropathy. An example is Neurontin/Gabapentin.

Prevention of Neuropathy

The best way to prevent this disease is by managing medical conditions that put someone at risk such as rheumatoid arthritis, alcoholism, or diabetes.

  • Eating a balanced diet: make sure to eat food rich in all nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Exercise regularly:  try to exercise thirty minutes to one hour at least 3 times a week.
  • Avoid factors that may result in nerve damage: this may include alcoholism, smoking, repetitive motions, exposure to toxic chemicals, and cramped positions.

Peripheral neuropathy can be effectively managed if properly diagnosed.  The most appropriate way to treat neuropathy is through abstaining of alcohol, abstaining from smoking, and engaging in physical exercise [5].

The United States government should come up with strategies and plans to fight this disease by all means. It is an illness that impacts the quality of life of its sufferers [6]

Deep appreciation should be accorded to Non-Profit organizations, like The EPIC Foundation, that support patients and their loved ones. If you suffer neuropathy symptoms, it is imperative that you seek medical expertise and treatment. Your quality of life can improve if the symptoms are effectively addressed.


  1. Aring AM, Jones DE, Falko JM. Evaluation and prevention of diabetic neuropathy. Am Fam Physician. 2015
  2. Boulton AJ, Vinik AI, Arezzo JC, et al. Diabetic neuropathies: A statement by the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2013
  3. Duby JJ, Campbell RK, Setter SM, et al. Diabetic neuropathy: An intensive review. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2004;
  4. Chittleborough CR, Grant JF, Phillips PJ, et al. The increasing prevalence of diabetes in South America: The relationship with population ageing and obesity. Public Health. 2017
  5. Chong MS, Hester J. Diabetic painful neuropathy: Current and future treatment options. Drugs 2014
  6. Greene, DA, Feldman, EL, Stevens, MJ, et al. Diabetic neuropathy. In: Porte D, Sherwin RS, Ellberg M, et al(Eds). Ellenberg& Rifkin’s Diabetes Mellitus (5th edition). East Norwalk, CT: Appleton Lange; 2016