Updated: Feb 9, 2019
Symptoms of Neuropathy
Suffering from all types of neuropathy can be extremely painful. Suffers may experience symptoms like a burning pain and a temporary or permanent numbness. You may also, experience symptoms of a tingling, pricking sensation and loss of balance in your hands, feet, arms, and legs. Other possible symptoms include:
Increased sensitivity to touch
Muscle weakness or wasting
Dysfunction in organs or glands
And impairment to urination and sexual function (1).
You may be wondering how this happens. These symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are caused by damage to the nerves. Damaged nerves occur from various reasons including, but not limited to, diabetes, post-chemotherapy, medications, vitamin deficiencies, and idiopathic (unknown reasons).
Understanding the Nervous System
To understand how peripheral neuropathy works, it is important to understand how your nervous system works. Your body’s nervous system is divided into two parts. The central nervous system includes your brain and spinal cord. There is also, the peripheral nervous system. This is the part of the body that transmits signals between your central nervous system and the rest of your body.
This peripheral nervous system is divided into two parts. The first is a voluntary or somatic nervous system. This controls all of the functions we are consciously aware of, like moving your hands, fingers and legs. The second is involuntary, the autonomic nervous system. This is the part of the body that controls the functions we are unaware of, like your heartbeat, digestion, and breathing. Neuropathy symptoms can affect both voluntary and involuntary peripheral nerves.
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy you may experience depend on how these autonomic nerves, sensory nerves, and motor nerves are affected.
Autonomic nerve damage will typically cause digestion problems from neuropathy.
Sensory nerve damage will often cause balance problems.
Motor nerve damage may affect your reflex and movement abilities.
Usually, this begins in the feet because this is the area where the farthest nerve endings are. Peripheral Neuropathy is nerve dependent. As the severity of your neuropathy increases, then it may extend into the more central parts of your body (2).
Learn more about the Diagnosis of Peripheral Neuropathy here.