A wide variety of factors, from genetic inheritance to inflammatory diseases such as lupus, can cause nerve damage. These disorders are known as peripheral neuropathies and cause symptoms related to sensory pathways, movement, or the autonomic nervous system.
One of the most common types of peripheral neuropathy is tender, Which is characterized by the appearance of symptoms and signs related to the perception of sensations and occurs as a result of nerve damage.
In this article we will analyze the most common symptoms, causes and treatments of this disorder.
What is peripheral neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is a category of diseases that affect the functioning of nerves. The specific consequences of these alterations vary according to the damaged nerves; it is common for them to cause sensory and motor deficits, As well as dysfunctions in the organs and glands of the endocrine system.
Since the autonomic nervous system also contains nerve fibers, peripheral neuropathy is sometimes associated with disturbances in functions such as breathing, blood circulation, and body temperature regulation.
Some of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy they include systemic illnesses such as diabetes or lupus erythematosus, the consumption of certain antibiotics, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, trauma, vitamin deficiency and viral infections. It is sometimes transmitted by hereditary genetic mechanisms.
Types of peripheral neuropathy
We speak of “mononeuropathy” when the affectation is limited to a single nerve, while the term “polyneuropathy” is used to refer to cases where several nerves in the same area are damaged. In contrast, multifocal mononeuropathy is diagnosed when there is more than one independently injured nerve.
The label “sensitive neuropathy” is reserved for nervous disorders they mainly affect the sensory system, Associate – especially with touch and proprioception. Either way, it is very common for different types of neuropathy to appear together in the same person.
The characteristic symptoms of sensory neuropathy consist in the development of functional deficits of the senses, as well as the appearance of sensations which should not be perceived or which have a greater intensity than expected. Symptoms of sensory neuropathy tend to present symmetrically in both hemispheres of the body.
Among the deficient symptoms we find lack of sensitivity to tactile stimuli, Such as sensations of texture, vibration or pressure, as well as pain. In addition, there are often problems with perceiving changes in temperature and a decrease in the ability to sense intense heat or cold.
It is very characteristic of sensory neuropathy the loss of perception of the position of the body, which is associated with deficits in balance, posture and coordination of movements, Especially when standing and walking. It is common for the symptoms to be more marked on the feet, which further impairs this type of function.
On the other hand, significant pain sensations may appear as a result of stimuli that are objectively painless (hyperalgesia) or which should not cause harm at all (allodynia). Itching, tingling, burning, or throbbing pain is sometimes seen without an identifiable cause, and tremors may appear in the muscles.
In a large number of cases, sensory neuropathy is accompanied by dysfunction of the motor nerve. When this happens, the most common is that sensory symptoms first appear in the lower extremities and then develop. motor-type signs, such as muscle weakness and changes in gait.
Causes of this disorder
The scientific community has identified a large number of possible causes of sensory neuropathy. Some of the most common are:
- Inflammatory diseases such as lupus systemic erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, sarcoidosis, Guillain-Barré syndrome or leprosy.
- Endocrine and metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, amyloidosis or chronic renal failure.
- Diseases of the bone marrow such as lymphoma.
- Traumatic injuries to the nerves of the senses.
- blows, In particular ischemia.
- Genetic inheritance of diseases such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth and Friedreich ataxia.
- Contact with toxic substances such as poisons and heavy metals.
- Deficiency of vitamins A, B1, B12 and E or excess of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).
- Chronic inflammatory responses in nerve fibers.
- Alterations in blood flow to the affected nerves.
- Medication use like fluoroquinolones.
- Chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Treatment and Medication
Treatment of the symptoms of sensory neuropathy primarily focuses on identifying the underlying cause in order to correct the core alterations. When this is not possible, therapy aims to relieve specific symptoms.
In this way pain relievers are generally used (Including medical cannabis), as well as antidepressants and anticonvulsants. Antidepressants include duloxetine and tricyclics such as nortriptyline and amitriptyline, while gabapentin, pregabalin, and sodium valproate are the most widely used antiepileptics.
On the other hand, recent research suggests that transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation therapy can be very effective in reducing pain symptoms, although results are only sustained as long as treatment is continued.
In cases where neuropathy occurs as a result of complications in diabetes mellitusManaging blood sugar may be enough to correct the problems.