Mini Lesson 2: What Causes Peripheral Neuropathy?
The Many "Causes" of Peripheral Neuropathy
There are over 100 documented potential causes and contributing factors to peripheral neuropathy, however, the common denominator has to do with compromised circulation.
The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes which directly damages the blood vessels over time. Approximately 70% of those with diabetes will eventually develop peripheral neuropathy. When the tiny capillaries become damaged, they are no longer able to supply the tiny peripheral nerves with the vital nutrients they need to function properly. Eventually they begin to dysfunction and die. This leads to the variety of unpleasant symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy.
Some of the other causes of peripheral neuropathy include physical injury (trauma), repetitive motion injuries leading to entrapment or compression of either blood vessels or nerves, vascular or blood problems that decrease oxygen supply to the peripheral nerves, smoking, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, autoimmune diseases, hormonal imbalances, kidney and liver disorders, nutritional or vitamin deficiencies, alcoholism, toxins, medication side- effects, certain cancers, benign tumors, chemotherapy drugs (which cause neuropathy in approximately 30-40% of those undergoing chemotherapy), radiation therapy, infections Such as chicken pox, shingles, West Nile virus, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex, Lyme, and HIV.
Any one of the above can damage either the blood supply or the nerves themselves. Of course, damaging the blood supply eventually leads to nerve damage as well. Tomorrow we will dig deeper into the actual cause of peripheral neuropathy. This is part of what we do when you visit for a consultation and exam. Knowing what is causing your problem is the next step to the solution. Please use the link below to schedule an exam with us, or feel free to visit or contact us any time if you have questions.