Neuropathy is the term used to describe a problem with the nerves: usually the “peripheral nerves” as opposed to the “central nervous system” involving the brain and spinal cord.
Neuropathy is seen with a number of different underlying medical conditions. However, neuropathy can also be described as “idiopathic” when doctors can’t determine its exact cause.
Causes Of Neuropathy
Many different conditions can lead to peripheral neuropathy:
- Diabetes is the most common cause of chronic peripheral neuropathy. High blood sugar levels can damage nerves in people with poorly controlled diabetes.
- B12 or folate vitamin deficiencies can cause nerve damage and peripheral neuropathy.
- Drugs such as some chemotherapy or HIV medications can damage peripheral nerves.
- Poisons (toxins) such as insecticides and solvents can cause peripheral nerve damage.
- Cancers – Peripheral neuropathy can occur in people with some cancers, such as lymphoma and multiple myeloma.
- Alcohol excess – High alcohol levels in the body cause nerve damage.
- Chronic kidney disease – If the kidneys are not functioning normally, the ensuing imbalance of salts and chemicals can cause peripheral neuropathy.
- Injuries – Broken bones and tight plaster casts can put pressure directly on the nerves.
- Infections – Damage can be caused to peripheral nerves by some infections, including shingles, HIV infection, and Lyme’s disease.
- Guillain-Barré syndrome is the name given to a specific type of peripheral neuropathy triggered by infection.
- Connective tissue diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, and systemic lupus erythematosus
- Certain inflammatory conditions – Conditions including sarcoidosis and coeliac disease can also cause peripheral neuropathy.
- Hereditary diseases such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome and Friedreich’s ataxia.
- Idiopathic causes – In somepeople, no specific cause is found for their peripheral neuropathy. This is known as idiopathic peripheral neuropathy.
Types Of Tests
Nerve Conduction Studies:
- Nerve conduction studies check the speed with which nerves send messages.
- Special electrodes are placed on the skin over the nerve being tested.
- These electrodes give off very small electrical impulses that feel a bit like a small electric shock which stimulate the nerve.
- Other electrodes record the electrical activity of the nerve.
- The distance and speed that the impulses take to travel to the other electrodes are calculated
- In peripheral neuropathy, the speed of the nerve impulses is reduced.
- This test looks at the electrical activity of the muscles.
- A very thin needle with an electrode attached is inserted through the skin into a muscle.
- This is connected up to a recording machine called an oscilloscope.
- The way that the muscle responds when it is stimulated by nerves is then monitored using the oscilloscope.
- In peripheral neuropathy, the electrical activity will be abnormal.
This is the removal of a small part of a nerve so for additional examination under a microscope.
- This is a new technique that has been developed to examine the peripheral nerves.
- The procedure can be used to look for early peripheral neuropathy to monitor progression and treatment response.
- The density of nerve fibers in the area of skin is measured.
- In peripheral neuropathy, the density of the peripheral nerves is reduced.
Learn How Our Podiatrist In Merrillville, IN, & Neuropathy Testing Treatment Can Help You!
Please call our podiatry office in Merrillville, IN, at 847-390-7666 if you have any additional questions about neuropathy to the foot. We will be happy to provide you with all the information that you need. Come experience Weil Foot & Ankle Institute! Our Merrillville podiatrist offers the best podiatry care in Merrillville, Valparaiso, Portage, Munster, Schererville, Dyer, Chesterton, St. John, Crown Point, Porter, and Highland, IN.