What Causes Neuropathy?

We rely on our peripheral nervous system to connect our brain and spine, the central nervous system, to the rest of our body to ensure our movement, senses, and natural bodily processes work as they should.

There are three types of nerves within our peripheral nervous system, each with a critical role to play in keeping us fit and well.

The autonomic nerves are responsible for controlling body functions like blood pressure, digestion, breathing, and heart rate. These are things we cannot actively control ourselves.

The motor nerves carry messages from your brain to the muscles to control movement. When we want to pick up a glass, for example, it’s the brain sending messages through the motor nerves that tell the muscles into which position to put the hand.

The sensory nerves carry messages from our senses to the brain via the spinal cord, alerting the brain that you need to sweat when you’re too hot, for example.

Neuropathy occurs when cells are damaged or destroyed within these nerves

There are a number of ways that nerve cells can be damaged or destroyed, from disease to trauma, and we’ll be discussing these in a bit more detail later. When a cell is damaged, it changes the way that nerves communicate with each other, meaning the messages to and from the brain aren’t sent and received correctly.

This miscommunication can cause several symptoms, including:

These are some severe symptoms that have a real impact on your quality of life, so what causes this neuropathy to occur?

Infections and autoimmune diseases are common culprits in causing neuropathy

Some of those germs that carry infection can damage and destroy vital nerve cells to cause neuropathy. Conditions like HIV, Lyme disease, and the herpes virus are known to cause significant nerve damage as the infection spreads through the peripheral nervous system.

Similarly, autoimmune diseases where your body is fooled into attacking itself, believing there is an infection or disease to fight, can also cause nerve cell damage. Typical examples include rheumatoid arthritis and Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Diabetes and systemic illness can also be a significant cause of damage and destruction to nerve cells

Systemic diseases are conditions that affect the entire body which include diabetes, one of the leading causes of peripheral nerve damage, but can also include some types of cancer, kidney disorders, or hormonal imbalance.

Sometimes the medication we use to treat illness and disease can cause neuropathy as a side effect. This is particularly the case when strong doses are required, such as chemotherapy for cancer, which aims to destroy cancer cells to remove the disease, but can often damage and destroy nerve cells along the way.

Dr. Charmaine Ortega can help relieve your neuropathic symptoms to enjoy life again

There are ways to relieve the symptoms of neuropathy and Dr. Ortega uses cutting-edge tests to understand the cause and progression of nerve damage to provide the most effective treatment. This might include lifestyle advice, treatment of the underlying condition causing the neuropathy, and regenerative stem cell therapy to regain function.

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of neuropathy and want to regain control of your life get in touch with us today to arrange your consultation with Charmaine Ortega, MD, at St. Luke Integrative Medical Center.

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