Neuropathy, also known as peripheral neuropathy, is a disease often associated with diabetes, although there are actually more than 100 known types of neuropathy – each with its own characteristic symptoms, pattern of development, and prognosis. Although there are several “tell-tale” symptoms that seem to afflict all neuropathy sufferers, each version of the disease is different and comes with its own set of problems.
Below are several of the main types of neuropathy, although this is not an exhaustive listing by any means.
- DIABETIC NEUROPATHY — Over 30% of all neuropathies can be linked to diabetes, and diabetes is the most common cause of neuropathy in the western world. Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to diabetic neuropathy – high blood sugar levels damage the nerves and neuropathy is one of the outcomes.
- IMMUNE MEDIATED/CIDP — manifestations of neuropathy such as CIDP (Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy) is caused by an abnormal immune system response. In this condition, nerves swell and become irritated due to an immune reaction, eventually damaging the nerves outside the brain or spinal cord with peripheral neuropathy symptoms thus following.
- HEREDITARY NEUROPATHY — Diseases like Charcot-Marie-Tooth have been discovered to be inherited and lead to hereditary neuropathy. This condition deals with the role of different proteins in the role of physiology in peripheral nerve conduction.
- AUTONOMIC NEUROPATHY — actually a group of symptoms more than a disease itself, autonomic neuropathy concerns damage to the nerves of the body that control every-day functions in the body that are autonomic in nature, such as blood pressure, heart rate, bowel and bladder emptying, even digestion. When the nerves that control or affect these functions are disrupted, these autonomic functions cease to perform normally and can cause many complications.
- COMPRESSIVE NEUROPATHY — Known to laymen as a “pinched nerve,” compressive neuropathy often comes about by an accidental injury to the body. Herniated discs, sciatica, arthritis in the spine and spinal stenosis are just some of the ways a nerve can become compressed and cause pain and discomfort to an afflicted sufferer.
- DRUG-INDUCED/TOXIC NEUROPATHY –– toxic polyneuropathies come about in the human body when nerves are damaged or destroyed by chemicals introduced that have cumulative or highly-toxic effects. These tend to be occupational, chance exposures or intentional, even homicidal ingestions.
There are other forms of neuropathy, including those from infectious diseases such as shingles, as well as from nutritional deficiencies. The best bet for understanding any form of neuropathy that a person may be experiencing is to visit their doctor or a trained neurologist for a consultation.
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