If you’re close to an elderly person or a diabetic, you’ve probably heard of neuropathy. This condition affects nearly 20 million Americans, but diabetics and the elderly are especially prone to developing the symptoms of neuropathy. In fact, about half of all diabetics have some form of neuropathy, and about 8% of people over 55 have symptoms. The total numbers are likely higher, as neuropathy testing is not foolproof and the condition is often misdiagnosed due to its complex and numerous symptoms. In total, there are over 100 kinds of neuropathy.
Despite this complexity, the three types of neuropathy are fairly easy to distinguish from each other, based on their symptoms. In reviewing these three types you may even notice symptoms that you or a loved one have experienced.
Do you often feel pain, tingling, or weakness, especially in your hands and feet? If so, come see the team at Infinity Regenerative and Neuropathy Center. Our team treats and addresses pain using a multi-disciplinary approach. In this blog, our pain experts discuss the basics of neuropathy, its three types, symptoms, and treatment options.
Neuropathy, also commonly referred to as peripheral neuropathy, is a condition that results from damage to the nerves that carry messages between the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. The peripheral nerves make up a network that connects your brain and spinal cord with your organs, muscles, and skin. When these nerves are damaged, they interrupt the flow of communication along nerve lines called dermatomes.
Damage can occur from a number of conditions and causes, including:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Inherited disorders
- Bone marrow disorders
- Vitamin deficiencies
Diabetes is the most common cause of neuropathy.
Types of neuropathy
The three types of neuropathy can be separated based on the nerves that are damaged.
Damage to the motor nerves impacts muscle movement. Symptoms include weakness, painful cramps, uncontrolled muscle movement and spams, and muscle atrophy. People who have neuropathy of their motor nerves may be at risk of falling due to weakness.
The sensory nerves provide sensation from your skin, including pain, temperature, vibration, and touch. Those suffering from neuropathy in their sensory nerves often feel the following:
- Numbness, pain, or tingling
- Sensitivity to touch
- Freezing or burning pain
These symptoms often begin in the extremities, like the hands and the feet, but can move to other parts of the body. Sensory nerve damage is linked to burns, infections, and other injuries due to numbness. Someone with this type of damage could injure their foot or place their hand on a hot stove and not feel it.
The autonomic nerves control all of those functions that you don’t think about, like digestion, bladder function, and heart rate. When the autonomic nerves are damaged and can’t function properly, patients may experience changes in bathroom habits, uncontrollable sweating, and dizziness due to changes in blood pressure.
Neuropathy can not be cured, but a strong treatment plan can achieve functional recovery over time to the point that many symptoms will fade or disappear. At Infinity Regenerative and Neuropathy Center we use a protocol that has been proven by several clinical studies as well as our own years of experience to be effective.
To learn more about neuropathy and how it’s treated, book an appointment online or over the phone with Infinity Regenerative and Neuropathy Center today.