There are many types of neuropathy such as peripheral neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy, metabolic neuropathy, and autonomic neuropathy. Neuropathy refers to the disease of dysfunction where there is numbness or weakness of the nerves. The term peripheral neuropathy refers to disease or injury that causes dysfunction and injury to the peripheral nerves. The peripheral nerves describe the peripheral nervous system comprising of 43 pairs of motor and sensory nerves that interconnects the spinal cords and brain to the entire body. It controls sensation, motor coordination and movement. In diabetic neuropathy, it is a common complication of diabetes mellitus and can affect as many as 50% of patients with diabetes, regardless whether it is type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It can severely decrease the quality of life in patients that are affected. While the factors are not fully understood it has been deemed to be a multifactorial process.
Some of the risk factors that are associated with it are poor blood glucose control, increasing age, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, alcohol consumption, and more. In the United States, it has been estimated that there are as many as 47% of diabetics with neuropathy. Autonomic neuropathies affect the autonomic neurons, both sympathetic and parasympathetic. It can either be hereditary or acquired. It can be seen in individuals of all races or ages but happens predominantly in males.
Neuropathy Symptom #1: Numbness or Tingling
Neuropathy means that there is some degree of damage or injury to the nerves. This causes the nerves to become numb and affected individuals may experience sensations of tingling in certain parts of the body.
Since nerves function to relay messages of sensation or impulses back to the central nervous system, damage or injury to the nerves reduces the sensitivity of the nerves to touch, temperature, pain and more. The affected nerves are no longer functioning properly. Neuropathy most commonly affects the peripheral nerves which are located furthest away from the central nervous system and heart. As there is an increasing loss of perception of stimuli in the affected area, numbness ensues.