Would you be surprised to learn that nerve damage (neuropathy) is the most common health complication caused by excessive alcohol use?
If you were asked to name a serious alcohol-related health problem, you’d probably mention liver damage. While the liver is the first to suffer damage, and nearly everyone who drinks too much has a fatty liver, only 35% develop advanced liver disease.
By comparison, neuropathy is diagnosed in 25% to 66% of Americans with alcohol use disorder, which includes a wide range of drinking habits, from heavy alcohol use to addiction.
The skilled team at Infinity Regenerative and Neuropathy Center in Plano, Texas, specializes in helping everyone with neuropathy, no matter what causes the problem. Their holistic care supports your overall well-being while providing advanced therapies to treat neuropathy.
Here’s what you need to know about neuropathy caused by alcohol abuse.
How alcohol causes neuropathy
Alcohol is a toxin with the potential to damage every part of your body. Your body metabolizes alcohol into a dangerous chemical that pervades every cell, causing damage at the cellular level and harming entire organs.
While alcohol takes a heavy toll on your liver, it also weakens your immune system, damages your heart, and is directly related to cancers of the liver, breast, colon, and head and neck. And it destroys your nerves.
Nerve damage (neuropathy) develops over months and years of frequent, heavy, and continuous drinking. Though nerves suffer the most in people who regularly over-consume alcohol, frequent binge drinking can also lead to neuropathy.
Alcohol causes neuropathy in two ways: directly and indirectly. Alcohol toxins directly harm your nerves, causing tissue degeneration and loss of function. This direct damage is called alcoholic neuropathy.
Excessive alcohol use also interferes with your body’s ability to metabolize and use nutrients. As a result, you develop deficiencies in the vitamins essential for building and maintaining healthy nerves.
Signs of alcohol-related neuropathy
Neuropathy generally develops slowly, but how quickly symptoms appear depends on the amount of alcohol you consume and how long you’ve been drinking. The nerve damage begins in your feet, and if you keep drinking, it may progress to include your arms and other body areas.
The earliest signs of alcoholic neuropathy are pain, tingling (the feeling of pins and needles), and/or burning sensations in your feet. As time goes on, you may have similar symptoms in your hands and arms.
As the damage progresses, you can lose feeling in your feet, and the nerve damage may affect your muscles. You may experience muscle weakness, aches or cramps and have difficulty walking.
If you keep drinking, the nerve damage progresses to other body functions. At this stage, you may have diarrhea, constipation, urinary incontinence, nausea, and vomiting. Men may experience erectile dysfunction.
Treatment for neuropathy caused by alcohol abuse
Before recommending treatment, we learn about your drinking habits and complete a thorough physical and neurological exam. We also run blood tests to find potential nutrient deficiencies and identify biomarkers like inflammation and blood levels of sugar and cholesterol.
After determining that you have neuropathy and it’s related to alcohol consumption, we recommend a two-pronged treatment plan.
First, it’s essential to get help to stop drinking. As long as you keep drinking, your nerve damage keeps getting worse.
We take care of the second part of your treatment with advanced therapies to:
- Relieve nerve-related symptoms
- Promote nerve healing
- Restore nutritional health
- Treat associated problems like erectile dysfunction
We specialize in helping each person restore their health and achieve optimal wellness. To do that, we combine exceptional medical care with recommendations for lifestyle changes that support healthy nerves.
Call Infinity Regenerative and Neuropathy Center or use online booking today to get compassionate and comprehensive care for neuropathy.