7 Common Causes of Neuropathy
If you’ve been diagnosed with neuropathy in the last few months, it might be linked to a pretty recent source. Research shows that people who have COVID-19 are three times more likely to experience peripheral neuropathy, a condition causing tingling and numbness in the hands and feet. Other symptoms of neuropathy include pain and weakness, and these symptoms may extend to other areas of the body as well.
Of course, it’s worth noting that there are many possible causes of this frustrating condition. These causes range from physical injuries to vitamin deficiencies to infections.
As you work with your doctors and our team of Utah pain specialists, here are a few common culprits to keep in mind.
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of neuropathy in the United States. About half of all patients suffering from diabetes will also show symptoms of neuropathy.
Because high blood sugar can damage your blood vessel walls, it makes it more difficult for these vessels to circulate nutrients throughout your body. This is especially true of areas like the hands, feet, and kidneys, and it’s why some diabetes patients begin to lose feeling in their hands and feet.
Luckily, proper diabetes treatment can slow and even stop the symptoms of neuropathy, and a proper diet and exercise can also be a great help.
2. Physical Injuries
Injuries and trauma due to car accidents, sports activities, falls, or fractures can damage the nerves in several ways. These incidents can crush or compress nerves, stretch them too far, or even tear them from the spinal cord.
After an injury, your initial symptoms can be painful as you work to regain strength and health. However, a specialist in pain care can help you manage both your neuropathic pain and your other pain symptoms.
3. Autoimmune Disorders
Autoimmune disorders cause the immune system to attack the various tissues and systems throughout your body, including your nervous system. Alternatively, these disorders may cause a direct attack on the nervous system only.
Either way, this can cause lasting damage. Common autoimmune culprits include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Sjögren’s syndrome.
4. Nutritional Deficiencies
Certain nutritional deficiencies can cause neuropathy. B vitamins, vitamin E, and niacin are especially important for a healthy nervous system.
When it comes to the American diet, it’s worth noting that vitamin B12 deficiencies are among the most common culprits.
Vitamin B12 can cause a range of side effects, including dizziness, muscle aches, and heart palpitations. It’s important to speak to your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms. With the proper diet and oral supplements, it’s easy to make sure that you’re getting all of the nutrients you need to avoid early signs of neuropathy.
5. Cancer and Chemotherapy
Certain types of cancer, such as lymphoma or multiple myeloma, can lead to neuropathy.
This is also true of tumors that grow near the spine or brain, or of tumors that compress surrounding nerves. Note, of course, that this can even happen with benign tumors if they grow in the wrong place.
In addition, radiation and chemotherapy can cause significant nerve damage over time, leading to various types of neuropathy. The symptoms can sometimes persist even after you’ve completed your treatments, though the good news is that many patients recover from at least some of the nerve damage associated with these treatments over time.
6. Infections and Viruses
As noted above, we now know that the COVID-19 virus can put patients at increased risk for neuropathy. The same is also true of many common viruses and infections, some of which can damage nerve tissues as they progress.
Chickenpox, shingles, Lyme disease, hepatitis C, and HIV can all lead to neuropathy. This may happen when the immune system, in its attempts to heal the body, attacks the nervous system by mistake.
The good news is that you may not need neuropathy treatment for this one: the symptoms of neuropathy tend to improve after you’ve gotten the virus or infection under control.
7. Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease involves an imbalance of salts, nutrients, chemicals, and toxins in your body—which can affect your nerves if left unchecked. Without the kidneys functioning as normal to remove excess fluids and toxins, your nerves may be exposed to substances that can damage them over time. This is why neuropathy tends to be common among patients on dialysis.
Other Possible Causes of Neuropathy
Though the conditions above are among the most common causes of neuropathy, there are a few other causes to be aware of.
Alcoholism, which is often linked to poor nutrition and added toxins, can keep nerves from getting the nutrients they need to function. As you might expect, the same is true of chronic exposure to any toxins, including pesticides, industrial chemicals and solvents, and heavy metals.
There are also a few genetic disorders that may cause neuropathy, including Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, Fabry disease, and familial amyloidosis.
Last, but not least, it’s worth noting that neuropathy can also be idiopathic, meaning that the condition has no known cause.
Get Help From The Utah Pain Specialists
Because it’s hard to treat neuropathy on your own, especially without managing your underlying condition, it’s easy to feel worried or concerned about your long-term outlook. That’s where our team of Utah pain specialists comes in!
With a wealth of experience helping patients with the effects of neuropathy, we’re here to offer the pain relief you need. Our modern approach to natural healing via Acousana therapy can help eliminate any pain you feel, both from neuropathy and any conditions causing it. For more information about our Utah pain relief methods, feel free to schedule an appointment or contact our team with questions.
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