Peripheral Neuropathy (PN) is the term used to describe disorders of the peripheral nerves. Approximately 50% of diabetics will develop the condition. Many people using statin medication may be affected by peripheral neuropathy.
Neuropathy means “disease or abnormality of the nervous system”
Peripheral nerve cells have three main parts: Cell body, axons, and dendrites (nerve/muscle junction). Any part of the nerve can be affected, but damage to axons is most common. The axon transmits signals between nerve cells or nerve cell to muscle. Most axons are surrounded by a substance call myelin, which facilitates signal transmission.
There are two types of symptoms associated with neuropathy -
negative and positive
Negative symptoms often come first. These signal damage to the nervous system has occurred and brings about a LOSS of a particular function. For example, loss of reflexes, loss of strength, and loss of sensation like light touch. These are rarely detectable to the patient because the brain makes up the difference in these losses.
Only after some time do the sick and damaged nerves develop the positive signs of neuropathy; tingling , burning, biting, stabbing, shooting pains.
Some neuropathies come on suddenly, others over many years. Some people are affected only by a weakness in the arms and legs which leads to difficulty standing, walking, or getting out of a chair. The loss of sensation from the feet, ankles and toes contributes to patients not having a ‘good sense’ of where their feet are in space, touching the ground, and this causes them to fall very easily. These under-recognized sensory losses can be detected with a thorough clinical exam.
Some patients will eventually become unable to walk at all. Others start with a tingling, pin pricking feeling that turns into deep sharp stabbing pains and burning electric shocks. These debilitating problems can also be at their worst at night.
If you would like to have more information or to register for your complimentary neuropathy screening call 813-253-2333.
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