What Causes Neuropathy?

We have more than 100 billion neurons in our brain that’s more than the number of stars in the Milky Way!

Specialized cells are responsible for relaying messages from one part of the body to another. Take motor neurons, for example they play a role in movement. Others help you smell, see, taste, and hear.

Like the rest of our body, however, these cells are susceptible to damage this is called neuropathy. In fact, it’s more common than you think. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it affects nearly 30% of Americans.

What causes neuropathy? Want to know?

Read on.

About Neuropathy

There are multiple types of neuropathy. How are they classified? It depends on what nerves are damaged. For example, there’s cranial neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, and proximal neuropathy.

The most common form, however, is peripheral neuropathy. Put it simply, it involves the nerves of your peripheral nervous system; this includes the ones in your hands, feet, mouth, arms, and face.

Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy 

Peripheral neuropathy often leads to a tingling sensation in the hands or feet. Sometimes, it can also cause sharp, stabbing pains.

Some people may also experience a heavy feeling in the arms and legs. At the end of the day, it depends on which nerve groups are affected.

What Causes Neuropathy? 

A number of things can cause peripheral neuropathy. Here are some of them.

1. Diabetes 

Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common forms of the disease. To give you a better idea, it affects nearly 60% of those with the condition.

What causes it? High blood sugar levels. As a result, an individual might feel pain and numbness in the extremities. Depending on the severity, there might also be a loss of sensation.

2. Injuries 

Physical trauma can damage the nerves, which can lead to neuropathy. For example, it might be due to a fall or a car crash. Sports injuries can cause it as well. 

Certain motions can also put pressure on the nerves. Take carpal tunnel syndrome, for instance it occurs when there’s increased pressure on the median nerve.

3. Infections 

Certain bacteria and viruses can attack nerve cells. For instance, the varicella-zoster virus, the one responsible for chickenpox and shingles, can cause intense, shooting pain.

Lyme disease, which is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, can also cause nerve pain if left untreated.

4. Medications 

Some medications can cause nerve damage as a side effect. These include anticonvulsants, blood pressure medications, and those used to treat cancer.

Fortunately, the risk is relatively low. With that said, it’s important to monitor for any changes, especially if you’re taking them for long periods of time.

Understanding Neuropathy

And now you know the answer to “what causes neuropathy”! As you can see, it can be due to a number of things from injuries to medications.

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