Peripheral neuropathy takes place as a result of nerves’ damages caused outside of the spinal cord and the brain i.e. the peripheral nerves in humans. The problem mainly causes numbness, weakness, and pain, often in the feet and hands. Even in some cases, peripheral neuropathy affects other body areas.
The peripheral nervous system of a person sends information to different parts of the body from the central nervous system, which consists of his/her brain and spinal cord. In addition, peripheral nerves send sensory information to your central nerves system. Based on the aforementioned facts, we should say that peripheral neuropathy patients often experience burning, stabbing or tingling type of pain.
In most of the cases, symptoms of patients improve especially, if they suffer from the problem because of any treatable condition. Diabetes is the common cause of peripheral neuropathy, but it may take place because of additional problems, like metabolic issues, infections, traumatic injuries, inherited causes and frequent exposure to toxic products.(1)
Who Is At Risk For Peripheral Neuropathy?
Your risk or chance to suffer from peripheral neuropathy increases based on the following factors-
- Type 2 diabetes, particularly, if you fail to control your blood glucose levels
- Abuse of alcohol
- Vitamin deficiencies, such as the deficiency of vitamins B and vitamins D
- If you have viral infections, like shingles, HIV, Lyme disease, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and Epstein-Barr virus
- Autoimmune diseases, like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, where your immune system attacks the healthy tissues in your body
- Thyroid, liver or kidney problems
- Frequent exposure to toxic products
- Individuals involved in a repetitive motion, like doing specific jobs frequently
- Family history related to neuropathy(1)
If you remain at relatively higher risk to suffer from peripheral neuropathy and leave your peripheral neuropathy symptoms untreated, you will likely develop various complications, which include the following-
Skin Trauma And Burns: You may not feel any type of temperature change or pain on your specific body parts, which remain in numb condition.
Infection On Injuries: Your body areas, which lack sensation may usually suffer injuries without your knowledge. To stay safe, you should make sure checking the respective areas regularly and treat even the minor injuries before they cause infection in your body. This is especially important if you are a diabetes patient.
Falls And Lack Of Balance: You may often lack your physical balance and suffer falling incident because of sensation loss and physical weakness.(1)
Blood Test To Diagnose Peripheral Neuropathy
Doctors mainly recommend a blood test or laboratory test to diagnose the underlying condition, which causes or contributes to peripheral neuropathy, detect complications and evaluate the specific function of the organ. Common blood tests include-
- Blood glucose test to detect the problem of type 2 diabetes and to help patients in controlling the glucose level
- Comprehensive metabolic panel to evaluate the functions performed by kidney, liver and body organs, while simultaneously, to detect any metabolic problem
- Vitamin B12 tests and other related vitamin tests to detect any type of vitamin deficiency in patients of peripheral neuropathy
- Complete blood count i.e. CBC test to identify any type of abnormality in the blood cells, metabolic problems and blood infection
- A thyroid test to detect the problem of hypothyroidism
- CSF i.e. Cerebrospinal Fluid Analysis to identify infections or abnormalities in the brain or in the spinal cord i.e. the organs constituting the central nervous system.
- Blood tests to diagnose Antinuclear antibody or any other autoimmune disorder
- Blood tests to detect infectious conditions, like Lyme disease, shingles, HIV/AIDS, cytomegalovirus, and syphilis.
- Heavy metal tests to detect the exposure of toxin
- Tests to identify the side effects of specific medications, which causes peripheral neuropathy
- Doctors recommend for a specific blood test called SPEP i.e. Serum Protein Electrophoresis test to identify monoclonal gammopathy and later on, immunofixation electrophoresis.
- Based on the recommendation given by a neurologist, you have to undergo with paraneoplastic antibodies test.
In some cases, doctors and neurologists recommend genetic testing to identify specific inherited disorders.(2)
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