18th Feb 2021-Dr.Manvir Bhatia/Saunri
Damage to the peripheral nerves causes a group of conditions termed Peripheral Neuropathy. The causes of Peripheral Neuropathy range from a variety of hereditary conditions such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, metabolic conditions such as diabetes which is one of the leading causes, and autoimmune conditions such as Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include pain, numbness, burning, sensitivity when the sensory nerves are affected, weakness in the limbs and atrophy when the motor nerves are affected and symptoms such as loss of bladder control, dry eyes and mouth, constipation, sexual dysfunction and excessive sweating when the autonomic nerves are affected.
Structure of nerves
Nerves are bundles that enclose the axons of many neurons along with some connective tissues and supporting cells. Sensory nerve fibers carry information to the central nervous system while motor nerve fibers carry signals to the target organs. Mixed nerves carry the axons of both sensory and motor neurons.
Types of Nerves
Based on their diameter, conduction velocities, and amount of myelination, all peripheral nerves are classified as large fibers or small fibers.
Large fibers: This includes heavily myelinated A alpha fibers conducting information regarding motor strength with a speed of 80 to 120 m/s and A-beta fibers conducting information regarding delicate touch and vibrations with a speed of 35 to 90 m/s.
Medium fibers: This includes myelinated A gamma fibers that carry information to the muscles with a speed of 4 to 24 m/s.
Small fibers: This includes myelinated A-delta fibers with a conduction speed of 5 to 40m/s, and unmyelinated C fibers with a slow conduction speed of 0.5 to 2m/s carrying information about internal organs as well as about pain, itch, and temperature.
Depending on which kind of nerve fibers are affected, one can suffer from large fiber neuropathy or small fiber neuropathies.
Research published in the Journal of American Medical Association Neurology in 2016 found that along with diabetes, even prediabetes conditions could lead to small fiber neuropathies and the damage to the nerves progressed much faster than thought before of typical small fiber neuropathies. Factors such as high blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and smoking may have accelerated the deterioration of the nerve fibers.
In conclusion, peripheral neuropathies can be of several types and can have many conditions that can initiate it. Hence regular check-ups and monitoring of symptoms are some of the ways to catch the initial stages of the disease before it progresses and start treatment.
To seek help or know more about Peripheral Neuropathy, you can visit the Neurology and Sleep Centre, the 1st sleep centre in the country accredited by the Indian Board of Sleep Medicine at L-23, Hauz Khas Enclave, New Delhi, Delhi-110016 (INDIA)
Or give a call on +91-11-46070321, +91-9643500270,