Neuropathy is a condition where a person suffering from repetitive trauma, physical injury, systemic diseases, autoimmune disorders, or infectious diseases experience discomfort caused by nerve damage.
According to an article on Nerve Pain Guide, neuropathy is gradually becoming one of the biggest problems in the medical industry because no definite cure has been discovered yet. Aside from that, more people are starting to show signs of this medical condition all over the world.
In fact, about 20 million people are suffering from a certain degree of peripheral neuropathy, a condition where the nerves that transmit the message to the outer extremities fail to do their jobs, in the United States alone based on statistics from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
Types of Peripheral Neuropathy
While there are several types of peripheral neuropathy, medical practitioners categorize symptoms of the condition based on the main four types, namely: the sensory neuropathy, motor neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, and mononeuropathy.
Sensory neuropathy, as the name suggests, encompasses damage to our nerves that transmit the message about sensations they gathered such as temperature, pain, touch, and others to the brain and spinal cord. This includes feeling too cold or too warm, as well as aching from bumps and scratches.
Motor neuropathy covers damage to the nerves responsible for motor functions while autonomic neuropathy causes a malfunction in the involuntary processes of the body such as blood pressure, bladder, and digestion.
On the other hand, mononeuropathy refers to the type of damage to a single nerve that isn’t included in the central nervous system.
In most cases, patients diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy have more than one of these main types, a condition that is then referred to as polyneuropathy. However, in the case of two or more mononeuropathy, medical practitioners refer to it as multiple mononeuropathies.
7 Common Symptoms
According to authorities, symptoms of neuropathy vary depending on the type of nerve affected. With that and the fact that the condition always has an underlying cause (disease or injury), medical practitioners concluded that neuropathy is a category of symptoms.
Below is a list of seven most common neuropathy symptoms categorized according to the nerves involved.
- Numbness, Tingling, and Prickling Sensation on the Outer Extremities
These symptoms categorized under sensory neuropathy are often experienced by people suffering from diabetes. However, there are other conditions that may result in these neuropathic symptoms, including vitamin deficiency, kidney failure, infectious and autoimmune diseases, and even pregnancy.
- Extreme Sensitivity
Skin sensitivity is set at a certain level which varies from one person to another. However, extreme sensitivity beyond normal ranges can already be considered as a sensory neuropathy. Some conditions that may cause this includes fibromyalgia, migraines, anxiety, shingles, diabetes, Lyme disease, vitamin deficiency, and demyelinating diseases like multiple sclerosis.
- Muscle Twitching
Also known as muscle fasciculation, twitching of the muscles is a form of motor neuropathy that is typically caused by damaged motor nerves. Among the known conditions that cause this type of symptom are seizures, kidney failure (hepatorenal syndrome), and neurological disorders like Tourette syndrome. Medical practitioners also found that caffeine overdose can cause muscle twitching and cramps.
- Muscle Weakness or Paralysis
Another symptom classified under motor neuropathy is myasthenia, a type of muscle weakness which sometimes leads to muscle paralysis. One of the conditions that show this kind of symptom is the autoimmune disorder known as Guillain-Barré syndrome. Most cases that show this sign of motor neuropathy are less severe as in the case of fatigue and unhealthy diet. However, psychological conditions like depression may also lead to paralysis.
- Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure or hypotension is considered as a symptom of autonomic neuropathy caused by diabetes, pregnancy, and even some kinds of medications.
- Bowel Incontinence
Bowel incontinence, more popularly known as the inability to control bowel movement, is another symptom categorized under autonomic neuropathy. This usually happens when the nerves that oversee anal sphincter functions are damaged. Bowel incontinence is caused by childbirth, straining during bowel release, stroke, and spinal injuries as well as diseases like diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
- Sexual Malfunction
One of the well-known forms of sexual malfunction is erectile dysfunction in men. This autonomic neuropathy symptom is typically seen in people with low blood vessel ailments (atherosclerosis) and diabetes, as well as those who suffered from stroke and alcohol or drug abuse.