HEALTH WARNING: DANGERS OF NEUROPATHY
What is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a type of nerve damage. It can cause a number of symptoms, including persistent burning pain, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness.
Neuropathy is generally a symptom of some other, underlying cause. Most commonly, neuropathy is caused by Type II diabetes. However, the condition can also be caused by traumatic injuries, infections such as Lyme disease and exposure to environmental toxins.
The nerve damage associated with neuropathy is generally concentrated in the hands and feet. However, it can appear anywhere in the body.
What are the Symptoms of Neuropathy?
The symptoms of this condition tend to be highly variable, depending on the types of nerves that have been damaged. Most often, these symptoms start off mild and slowly become more intense.
The first symptoms usually appear in the feet and include numbness, tingling and stabbing pain. Many people also experience a heightened sensitivity to touch. Even gentle or previously inoffensive contact can become painful. Other common symptoms include phantom sensations of pressure and constriction, reduced muscle strength and loss of coordination.
If the autonomic nerves are damaged, the symptoms can be quite different. Signs of this type of nerve damage include dizziness and lightheadedness upon standing, impaired sweating and swings in blood pressure.
What Harms Can Neuropathy Cause?
Some of the symptoms of neuropathy are directly harmful. For example, the loss of muscle strength can make it difficult or impossible for people with this condition to perform certain physical movements. The pain and discomfort of nerve damage can also be a kind of harm.
There are also complications and potential risks posed by this condition. Most of these relate to the loss of sensation in certain areas of the body. People with moderate to severe neuropathy are in increased danger of causing burns and other accidental injuries because of being unable to feel pain. Even a small cut can become a serious concern due to the risk of infection.
What are Recommended Treatment Options?
The treatment options vary depending on the underlying cause of the nerve damage. However, once the root condition has been addressed, the pain and discomfort associated with neuropathy can also be treated. Common treatment methods including over-the-counter pain relievers, soothing creams for hands and feet and, in more serious cases, topical anesthetics.
People with neuropathy should also develop a routine of checking the affected areas for injuries daily. This preventative measure can help ensure that neuropathy does not lead to further health problems.