The peripheral nervous system sends information from the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) to the rest of the body. Peripheral neuropathy, which is often simply referred to as “neuropathy,” is a condition that occurs when the peripheral nerves become damaged or disrupted. Peripheral neuropathy can result from traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems, inherited cause, and exposure to toxins. One of the most common causes is diabetes mellitus.
Signs and symptoms of neuropathy may include:
- Gradual onset of loss of feeling
- Tingling or pain that progresses toward the center of the body with time. The arms or legs may be involved.
The diagnosis of neuropathy and its cause involve a thorough medical history and neurological exam. In addition, the physician may order blood tests, imaging tests, and other nerve function tests.
Treatment goals are to manage the condition causing the neuropathy and to relieve symptoms. Medications to help relieve symptoms include pain relievers, anti-seizure medications, topical treatments, and antidepressants. A treatment plan from a neurologist is recommended.