If you've noticed numbness or tingling in your feet and muscle weakness that's been going on for a while, it's possible you have a problem with your peripheral nervous system. It's the extensive, complex communications system that carries information between the brain and spinal cord and all other parts of the body, including skin, other major organs, muscles and extremities. Sometimes an injury, trauma or a specific disease or medical condition can damage this system.
Peripheral nerves dispatch sensory signals from the head, face, eyes, nose, ears, muscles and the rest of the body to the brain and spinal cord. If you can sense a twitch in your eye or your hands feel cold, it's your peripheral nerves that are conveying that information through your brain. Peripheral nerves also carry instructions to muscles throughout the body from the brain and spinal cord to generate movement.
Damage to the peripheral nervous system is known as peripheral neuropathy. It disrupts the critical messages that travel between the brain or spinal cord and every other part of the body.
At least 20 million people in the United States have some form of peripheral neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy is classified into three areas:
More than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy have been identified. Each can have its own symptoms and prognosis. These are common types of peripheral neuropathy:
You may experience:
To diagnose your condition, your HonorHealth neurologist will use tests that include:
These may include:
Depending on the form of neuropathy you have, your HonorHealth neurologist will use one or more of these treatments:
Your neurologist may also recommend that you adopt of a healthy lifestyle, which includes maintaining a body weight within the normal range of the body mass index, eating a balanced diet, exercising, addressing vitamin deficiencies and reducing alcohol consumption to minimize the effects of peripheral neuropathy.