What Are the Warning Signs of Neuropathy?
There are several warning signs of neuropathy you should be aware of. Neuropathy is another name for nerve pain. It’s one of the most common side effects of diabetes and can present itself in different ways. This condition can cause severe pain. Once numbness sets in, when you cannot feel your feet under you, you are at risk for developing infections and ulcers, as well as falling and other serious complications.
Know your Risk Factors
Be aware that peripheral neuropathy does not always have an identifiable cause or associated risk factor. Five percent of cases are idiopathic. This means that we don’t know where it came from.
However, if any of these risk factors are present, be extra vigilant.
- Diabetes – This is the leading risk factor for peripheral neuropathy. Inflammation is a result of high blood sugar, which causes nerves to become weaker and more susceptible to infection. Over half of diabetics eventually develop neuropathy.
- Trauma to the body – An accident, injury, or surgical error could have caused damage to one or more nerves.
- Smoking. Smoking can cause nerve damage and other health problems.
- Nutritional deficiencies – Your nerves might not get the nutrients they need if you don’t receive enough key nutrients, particularly B vitamins. Alcohol abuse can lead to nutritional deficiencies as it makes it difficult for the body to use these nutrients efficiently.
- Autoimmune diseases – Some of the most common neuropathy diseases are lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and Sjogren’s syndrome. However, there are many others.
- Problems with the liver and kidneys – Nerves can become poisoned if your body is unable to properly filter out toxins from the blood.
These aren’t the only risk factors for peripheral neuropathy. You don’t have to have them all to get it. If any of these conditions or situations apply to you, be extra cautious.
Early Warning Signs
Peripheral neuropathy isn’t the same for everyone. It is often dependent on the type and location of nerve damage that causes peripheral neuropathy. As the disease progresses, most cases go through several stages.
These are some of the most common symptoms of early-stage or first-degree neuropathy.
- Tingling, prickling, or “pins and needles” sensation
- Feel the heat
- Sudden, intermittent “electric shock” pain
- Intermittent muscle spasms and cramping
- Hypersensitivity to temperature or touch
- Restless legs syndrome
The symptoms can be mild and not frequent. It is possible to go for many hours, days, or months without experiencing any discomfort. Your situation will only get worse if you don’t take steps to reverse and manage your neuropathy.
Later Stages of the Disease
Your peripheral neuropathy symptoms will get worse as your condition gets more severe. It could lead to a gradual worsening over many years or a much quicker pace depending on the cause.
Some people will experience severe pain that is so intense and frequent that they need multiple powerful medications to manage their daily lives. This is only one stage in peripheral neuropathy’s progression.
This is because once nerves are sufficiently damaged they lose their ability to feel pain.
Although this may seem like a great relief for those suffering from daily pain, it is when neuropathy can be the most dangerous. You are at greater risk for injuries and accidents, such as tripping, foot ulcerations, or infections, as well as severe deformities. Even worse, you may lose your ability to walk confidently, use the pedals safely, and participate in the many physical activities that you once enjoyed.
Schedule an Appointment Today
If you are feeling any warning signs of neuropathy or any of these symptoms, it is very important to call your doctor right away. At Florida Medical Pain Management we can provide physical, occupational, and rehabilitation therapy and other treatment to help relieve symptoms and relieve pain. Call us to schedule an appointment today.