Neuropathy And Some Of Its Types

Neuropathy is a term that refers to the condition that involves one or more nerves. Neuropathies can be categorized into three groups – sensory, motor and autonomic.

  • Sensory Nerves – These nerves tell us how things feel.
  • Motor Nerves – These nerves stimulate the muscle contraction and initiate movements.
  • Autonomic Nerves – These nerves control the functions that the body cannot consciously regulate such as breathing and heart rate.

Neuropathies are a neurological disorder. The nervous system in the human body allows the body to process and respond to external and internal information. Majorly it consists of two components – the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system involves two parts – the brain and the spinal cord. Whereas, the peripheral nervous system consists of spinal nerves and cranial nerves and these are sensory nerves.

Symptoms of Neuropathy

Neuropathy can be present with various different signs and symptoms that may make up many diagnostic possibilities. The symptoms of neuropathy are classified as negative symptoms and positive symptoms. Negative symptoms are those symptoms that reflect reduced nerve activity and positive symptoms are those symptoms that reflect inappropriate spontaneous activity. Some of the common symptoms that occur with neuropathy are as follows:

  • Tingling
  • Muscle cramping
  • Numbness
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Stabbing pain
  • Digestive problems
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness

Different types of Neuropathy

1. Idiopathic neuropathy – When the nerve damage interferes with the functioning of the peripheral nervous system and the cause of damage can’t be determined, it is known as idiopathic neuropathy. It is a common type of neuropathy which means that the causing factor is unknown. Some of the symptoms that occur in this type of neuropathy include numbness, tingling, and pain in the shins.

2. Diabetic neuropathy – It is a type of neuropathy which occurs in a person who has diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the blood sugar level of the body becomes high than normal. Diabetic neuropathy is one of the complications of diabetes which occurs when the excess sugar in the blood damages the nerve fiber. It can affect any nerve but most often, it affects the nerves that cause symptoms like numbness, tingling, constipation, dizziness, painful feet and sometimes it can also damage the nerve that controls the flow of blood to the penis region and causes erectile dysfunction.

3. Hereditary neuropathy – It is the commonest type of neurological disorder and is a cause of significant disability in the population. It is an inherited disorder of the peripheral nervous system which means a disorder that runs in a family. Hereditary neuropathy can be divided into three categories – hereditary motor and sensory neuropathies, hereditary motor neuropathy, and hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy. It includes symptoms like muscle weakness, foot deformities, loss of sensation and absent reflexes.

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4. Immune neuropathy – There are several types of immune-mediated neuropathies and the two most common type of immune neuropathy include chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and multifocal motor neuropathy. Immune problems occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks itself and when an attack of the immune system causes problems with peripheral nerves. It causes weakness and various sensory abnormalities.  

Ways to Prevent Neuropathy

Certain lifestyle changes can help in reducing the severity of the symptoms that occur in people having neuropathy. Some of the lifestyle changes include:

1. Quit smoking

We all are aware that smoking is injurious to health and it causes negative effects on all the organs in the body. One of these effects is seen in the development of neuropathies. Smoking is one of the leading risk factors in neuropathy and it is observed that smokers mostly complain about burning in their hands and feet. Multiple studies have suggested that the probability of neuropathy pain development increases as the duration of the smoke and the addiction level increases. In people having neuropathy, quitting smoking is one of the ways to reduce the severity of the symptoms.

2. Healthy eating

Controlling blood sugar level in the body is the number one factor that prevents the development of diabetic neuropathy. In order to control the blood sugar level in the body, it is essential to have a healthy diet. Eating healthy food is the key to maintain good blood glucose level and to prevent and treat neuropathy. It is important to eat food that is a rich source of vitamins. Some of the vitamins that help in treating neuropathy are vitamin B1, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. It should be noted that excess vitamin B6 is unhealthy for patients having neuropathy.

3. Limit the consumption of alcohol

Alcohol is a toxic substance for nerves as consumption of excessive alcohol can damage the nerves and cause neuropathy. Numerous researchers have observed that people who consume excessive alcohol are more likely to experience numbness and tingling in hands. Also, nutrients play an important role in maintaining the health of the nerves and alcohol alters the level of vitamins and minerals in the body which makes the body weak and more likely to develop neuropathy.

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Jim Carson

Jim Carson is the writer for the mental health section of He is certified in clinical mental health counselling and has conducted cognitive behaviour therapy for war veterans struggling with PTSD. Professionally and personally, Jim is an astute observer of human behaviour that reflects well in his work.