What is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a term that describes diseases or dysfunctions of the nerves, most commonly the peripheral nerves as opposed to the central nervous system. Thus, “Peripheral neuropathy” is a more appropriate designation in most cases.
When there is damage to the nerves in the extremities of the body – such as arms, hands, feet, or even mouth, eyes, skin – Peripheral neuropathy sets in. When this happens, the brain can’t communicate with the peripheral nerves, causing numbness and pain in the affected areas.
This form of neuropathy can affect more than one nerve (polyneuropathy) or only one nerve (mononeuropathy) at a time.
What is its most common cause of Peripheral Neuropathy
(Diabetes type 2) and less common causes (B12 deficiency, thyroid being 2 of the most common and undiagnosed )
It’s estimated that more than 17 million people in Europe and the United States have developed diabetic polyneuropathy. There is a higher risk of diabetes-related polyneuropathy in individuals with poor control over their blood glucose, who smoke, regularly consume large amounts of alcohol and are over 40 years old.
In addition to diabetes, peripheral neuropathy has been associated with multiple conditions:
- Excessive alcohol consumption over many years
- Vitamin B12 defficiency
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Chronic liver and kidney disease
- Vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels)
- Certain types of cancer (lymphoma and multiple myeloma)
- Among other rare conditions and syndromes
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms are as varied as all the nerves or nerve groups that can be affected. However, the main types of symptoms include:
- Sensory neuropathy – inability to experience touch, temperature, pain and other physical sensations.
- Motor neuropathy – loss of motor skills and balance.
- Autonomic neuropathy – deregulation of automatic bodily functions, such as control of blood pressure, digestion or breathing.
- Mononeuropathy – damage to a single nerve or nerve group outside of the CNS.
Functional Medicine Options for Treatment of Peripheral Neuropathy
There are many treatment options for peripheral neuropathy that do not include surgical or traditional methods. The following are used for alternative healing of the illness:
- transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
- plasma exchange and intravenous immune globulin
- physical therapy
- peripheral neuropathy diet
- peripheral neuropathy supplementation
We look at a patient’s physiology, metabolism, hormone interactions, and the interplay of these factors together to create a treatment program that works individually for you.
For further inquiries or a consultation regarding these life-changing therapy options, use the form to the right or call us to schedule an appointment today at American Back Center in Chicago.