Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is the result of damage to the peripheral nerves, often causes weakness, numbness and pain. These symptoms usually develop in your hands and feet but can also affect other parts of the body.

The peripheral nervous system sends information from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body. Peripheral neuropathy can result from traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems, exposure to toxins and auto immune diseases.

Symptoms

Symptoms depend on which nerve is affected.

  • Sensory nerves: receive sensation, temperature, pain, vibration or touch
  • Motor nerves: control muscle movement
  • Autonomic nerves: control functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, digestion and bladder

When one or two nerves are affected it is called (multiple) mononeuropathy and when many nerves are affected it is called polyneuropathy.

Causes

Alcoholism, auto immune diseases, diabetes, exposure to toxins, medications, infections such as Lyme disease, leprosy, and certain viruses, traumatic injuries and vitamin deficiencies.

To prevent peripheral neuropathy from Lyme disease it is important to get diagnosed and treated without a delay. Because patients don't always see the tick bite or erythema migrans rash that develops at the site of the tick bite the early signs of Lyme disease can often be overlooked.