Peripheral neuropathy is the type of damage and restrictions that occur to one’s nervous system at the peripheries of the body. Your body’s heart and lungs work together with your central nervous system to power a very strong and sensitive set of nerves. This of course is centered in both the brain and the spinal cord, where most of the body’s nerves end up receiving their signals. Sadly, through improper nutrition, exercise, and blood sugar levels, this sophisticated nerve network can break down. How bad can it get? Well, in short, you can lose feeling in your hands and feet, and possibly even have paralysis. Some people have problems with their kidneys, or are experiencing side effects from chemotherapy.
However, the biggest factors are as stated above; diet and exercise. Some of the worst cases involve people who haven’t been able to control their intake of alcoholic beverages. It might not even need to be said, but if you want to be healthy, you shouldn’t drink alcohol in excess. As peripheral neuropathy gets worse in the body, symptoms begin to multiply and get worse. At first, peripheral neuropathy starts out small; just these tingling sensations in the feet or possibly in the hands. As always, symptoms can vary depending on what the underlying cause of the neuropathy is. Once it starts occurring, it’s imperative that you try and halt the process through eating well and exercising.
Some of the symptoms might include things like muscle weakness and cramps. Many of the people who experience peripheral neuropathy are older, and are sometimes not very active. This can make it harder to catch the onset of these problems. It’s important if you’re in a group or population that has a high risk factor for these types of problems to stay vigilant and stay as healthy as possible. Sadly, there’s also a good potential for a ‘vicious cycle’ to occur; a patient might have their mobility restricted from things like muscle weakness and cramps, and that immobility might lead to more nerve damage. If things get worse, the twitching or weakness could lead to full-on numbness or paralysis.
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These sensory feelings of ‘twitchiness’ are not the only sensory factors of peripheral neuropathy. One can feel numbness or paresthesias (the feelings of pinpricks or tingles’) but also aching pains. People who have advanced peripheral neuropathy sometimes not only have those feelings, but also feelings of burning pain. Sounds scary, and in fact, it is. There are even cases where patients have such acute cases of peripheral neuropathy that they don’t notice open sores or cuts on their feet. The havoc that improper blood sugar wreaks on the body is quite strong. Many people suffering from peripheral neuropathy have an inability to sweat properly, which leads to intolerance of high levels of heat. Neuropathy and diabetes can wreak havoc on the bladder, which means chances of infections go up. Not to mention the increasing likelihood that one might have to wear Depends.
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Our senses of balance come from things as varied as the fluids inside our ears and the feelings of our blood coursing through our veins, so when these factors begin to be affected by blood pressure problems, it affects our balance as well. Lots of times, people can get lightheaded or even faint because of complications arising from neuropathy. It doesn’t just affect balance; it can also affect you stomach in myriad ways. Your intestines and digestive systems can be affected negatively from peripheral neuropathy. This can mean things like loose stools and diarrhea, or it can also go the other way and induce constipation. The throat and digestive tract can swell, or can also lose feeling. A lot of times this can cause problems with simply eating or swallowing food. Finally, peripheral neuropathy can get so bad that these symptoms can tax the body to a lethal level. Yes, you can have symptoms or situations from peripheral neuropathy that can be life-threatening. If you feel as if you have an irregular heartbeat, if you feel panicked or scared, or if you are having difficulty breathing, go see a doctor or to a hospital NOW. These types of events are not to be trifled with, and this is the true answer to ‘how bad can peripheral neuropathy get’ – the answer is that it can endanger your life if you are not careful. So stay safe, eat healthy, stay fit, and follow the advice of your physicians! Don’t forget to look up The Neuropathy Solution for more, and good luck!