Know and Understand the Cause of Neuropathy and How to Deal with It
Edited by Debbie, Charmed, Eng, Rebecca M. and 2 others
Neuropathy is a disorder that occurs when there is damage to the peripheral nerves, of the nervous system. These nerves extend out from the brain and the spinal cord. They pass on nerve impulses and sensory information from the body to the spinal cord where they are carried to the brain. When you have damage to the nerves, this hinders the normal function of the peripheral system. The symptoms of Neuropathy depend on the kind of nerve that is affected. With motor nerve damage, cramps, spasms, and muscle weakness can occur. You can also have poor coordination and a loss of balance.
What is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy does not pertain to a specific disease but a cumulative number of symptoms and complications manifested in wide range of illnesses. This can also present itself as idiopathic or apparent even if the underlying cause remains undiagnosed. Neuropathy is more commonly referred to polyneuropathy or peripheral neuropathy which involves damage to multiple nerves or specifically to the peripheral nervous system which renders significant disintegration to the nerves outside of the spinal column and the brain. This however does not cover nerve damage found in the central nervous system.
A Closer Look on the Nerve Cells:
There are roughly around 100 billion estimate count of nerve cells or neurons which are found in the brain, spinal column, and nerves which main function is to gather or accumulate information from varied organ systems of the body and enable transmission of specific electrochemical messages from one neuron to another over wide range of distances. As such, neurons are heralded as the "building blocks" that powers up the nervous system. They vary in size and shape depending on the nature of their functions. They have basically the same composition and function with that of the cells, the only difference is its uncanny ability to electrochemically transmit signals even from long distances.
The neurons are composed of 3 basic parts:
- Cell Body - This is composed of all the intrinsic parts of a cell which includes the nucleus which is the main control center or coined as the "brain of the cell" which regulates all cellular activities consisting of genetic expression, cellular division or deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) replication, storage of genetic materials, and for other metabolic and growth functions. This also contains the ribosomes which are responsible for the robust production of ribonucleic acid (RNA) and proteins in the cellular body. Also, this is composed of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) which are typically found in eukaryotic cells which has key responsibility for lipid synthesis, protein synthesis, and carbohydrate metabolism. The last component is the mitochondria which is regarded as the main powerhouse of the cell as it converts as it breaks down nutrients and converts them to energy which can be utilized for different cellular activities of the body. Once the cell body deteriorates, the neuron also dies with it. Cell bodies are categorically clustered together in ganglia which can be found in varied parts of the brain as well as the spinal cord.
- Axons - These are also referred to as "nerve fibers" which consist of long and slender projections that carry and transmit nerve or electrical impulses away from the cellular body. These are also typically covered in myelin sheet which provides insulation which relatively speeds up the transmission of information or electrical impulses. The myelinated nerve cells are usually found in the motor and sensory neurons while the nonmyelinated neurons are located in the brain and the spinal column.
- Dendrites - These are also called "nerve endings" which are described as thin projections which allow communication from one neuron to another. The dendrites which are typically found in the ends of every cell also helps the neuron perceive its environment.
Peripheral neuropathy involves these particular nerves:
- Motor Nerves -
- Sensory Nerves -
- Autonomic Nerves -
The most common nerve involved in neuropathy is the median nerve which causes a medical condition called carpal tunnel syndrome. All the other nerves such as the pudendal nerve, ulnar nerve, and lateral femoral cutaneous nerve can cause pain and numbness in involved sites of entrapment.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Neuropathy
The symptoms that are manifested in neuropathy depends primarily on the specific peripheral nerves involved.
- 4Changes in the color of the nails, hair, and skin.
- 5Diminished sense of coordination.
- 7Sexual problems for both men and women.
- 13Abnormal blood pressure.
- 15Shortness of breath.
- 16Sudden weight loss.
Reasons that can bring on Neuropathy
- 4Vitamin deficiencies
- 6Contact with Toxins.
Neuropathy can happen suddenly and some will develop slowly. The symptoms are normally more severe in the late evening. There is usually an underlying reason for this disorder, but there are treatments available.
- 2Pain Relievers
- 3Cold and Hot Compresses
- 4Botox Injections
- 5Vitamin Therapy
- 6A Healthy Diet
- 7Mobility Aids are Helpful.
- 8Possible Surgery
Tips Tricks & Warnings
- Find support groups on the internet for encouragement.
- Talk to various health professionals of how you can better deal with your pain.
- Talk with a close friend to relieve any negative feelings you have in dealing with your sickness.
Recent edits by: Marian Raquel F. Roncesvalles, Rebecca M., Eng