Mixed (Nervous System) Messages – National Neuropathy Awareness Week
It’s easy to take your nervous system for granted. After all, it’s not something you really “use,” it just always works. But what about when your nervous system stops working like it should? This is reality for nearly 20 million Americans who suffer from Neuropathy. With symptoms ranging from weakness and numbness to issues with vision and hearing, neuropathy impacts patients with a variety of unpleasant effects. May 13-17 was National Neuropathy Awareness Week, and at LeBauer HealthCare, we are working to continue the mission of the week by educating the community on this condition, as well as how it can be treated.
Types of Neuropathy
Neuropathy is a term that refers to disease or malfunctions of nerves throughout your body. Whether caused by an ailment or injury, any nerves can be damaged, leading to this condition. Here are three of the most common types of neuropathy:
- Peripheral neuropathy: Peripheral neuropathy involves problems affecting nerves outside the brain and spinal cord, which comprise the peripheral nervous system. This type of neuropathy impacts nerves in the extremities, such as legs, toes, feet, arms, hands, and fingers.
- Cranial Neuropathy: Cranial neuropathy is caused by damage to any of the 12 cranial nerves. Two of the most common types of cranial neuropathy are optic neuropathy and auditory neuropathy. Optic neuropathy is the result of damage to the optic nerve, inhibiting the transmission of visual signals between the retina and the brain. Auditory neuropathy refers to the nerve responsible for hearing, which carries signals to the brain from the inner ear.
- Autonomic neuropathy: Autonomic neuropathy refers to damage to the nerves of the involuntary nervous system. These nerves control blood circulation, the heart, digestion, bowel and bladder function, sexual response, perspiration, as well as other organs.
Causes and Symptoms
Since neuropathy can refer to a wide range of nerve damage throughout the body, there are several potential causes. Nerve damage can be the result of diseases, infections, injuries – even vitamin deficiencies or alcoholism. Neuropathy can be caused when nerves are damaged either directly or indirectly, often leading to difficulty recognizing this condition.
Symptoms of neuropathy can also be vast, due to the varying functions of different nerves. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy often include numbness, tingling, or even pain, usually starting in the feet and moving towards the center of the body. Autonomic neuropathy can show through a wide range of symptoms, ranging from nausea to urinary problems to dizziness and fainting. Cranial neuropathy often manifests in problems with vision or hearing. With so many causes and symptoms of neuropathy, it can be very difficult to diagnose.
Signs of Neuropathy? Visit Us Today.
Are you or a loved one experiencing symptoms possibly related to neuropathy? The experts at LeBauer Neurology can help diagnose and treat a wide range of neurological conditions. Find a LeBauer HealthCare office near you to schedule an appointment, or give us a call at 336-547-1792. We look forward to speaking with you.