How Bad Can Peripheral Neuropathy Get?

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.

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.

Blood pressure problems are no laughing matter. To learn more about them, go to The Neuropathy Solution for more articles and advice!

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!

28 thoughts on “How Bad Can Peripheral Neuropathy Get?”

  1. I have idiopathic poly neuropathy. Trigemial neuralgia, painful burning legs, hands which seem to drop a lot of things most days,, scalp which feels as if I have ants crawling onn it, a sensitifity to light and skin which is sensitive to sunlight. Probably more that hasn’t occurred to me.
    I have a walking cane and after trying to avoid it for a long time, I’m getting a mobility scooter.
    This condition is lonely and largley ingnored by the medical research areas in Australia. Why, when it appears to be quite common. Is it not pathetic enough because it cant be seen?

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  2. I get foot spasms so bad I want to fucking kill myself Lyrics worked but my sorry ass monkey for a doctor cut me cold turkey.

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    • I hear ya. I think about what my….leaving…would affect things. Not much, actually. I only have a husband, no kids or other family to speak of, & few friends. My husband is VERY resilient. I wouldn’t be missed. For now, I have hope because I have a Dr appointment in 3 months.

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    • I’ve been a uncontrolled diabetic for 43 years. Just about two years ago I bought a TENS unit for my diabetic neuropathy. It worked so well I use it on all of my pained body parts. It’s a good send. The pain is gone and I am able to get to sleep at night . I hear ya Whitney. Try the teens. It’s the best.

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  3. It started in my right big toe. Now it’s both feet all the time with occasional leg involvement. Even my lips and tongue tingle. A few times, while in bed, it’s my whole body! My limbs feel really heavy..almost like I can’t move. I can’t get a neurologist appointment for 3 months. I’m in nursing school & having great difficultly with fatigue. I have oxycodone & just got started on Gabapentin. The gaba does help, but I’ve heard horror stories about getting addicted & trying to get off of it. I’m about ready to end it all.

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    • D please try to stay with us all. I am on Gabapentin have been for 8 months. I may be slightly dependent on them but have managed to keep mg dosage low. I would be.more concerned about the oxycodone as far as addiction goes and I sincerely love the high if i take enough of them but they aren’t much help with the neuropathy. Good luck!!!!! Please take care!!

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      • Try Leg Cramps by Hyland’s . And you may need magnesium and chlorophyll 100mg buy it from GNC. Good luck. I roller skate since age 11 on the rink only. I would get mucsule spam’s in my feet so badly after skating I could walk. Try these things daily.

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  4. Hi All
    New to this diagnosis started with central finger on left hand six months on now in both hands no feeling to thumbs or fingers cannot detect movement in fingers unless,looking at them.
    Scarey Ben told could lose total function of hands as worded case scenario.
    I wish you all well hope thing improve for you

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  5. I have had neuropathy for a few years now and I’m on gabpentin doesn’t help much. I have pain in both legs n feet, and has started in left arm. Sometimes my legs hurt so bad i just want to cut them off.

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    • Know the feeling. I failed all Ms testing and have poly. So sick of legs and arms. Draw me some new ones.

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    • I failed all Ms testing. I have poly. I get sick of my legs and arms would love to chop off as well. Lyrics didn’t work so pain killers and anti inflammatorys. Oh whatever fun. Not.

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    • I’m at my wits end I was finally diagnosed with Motor Sensory Peripheral Neuropathy in 2012 but I can barely walk have to go out in a Wheelchair my hands are going numb now and keep dropping things no meds help only leave me a Zombie so I take none my mind is there but have no Body.

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  6. wow I am glad I read all comments I will stop complaining I have extreme pain in my right foot but it is intermittant I have not spoken to my GP about it .He says I have Peripheral Neuropathy because my sugar levels are too high. So I need to excercise more therefore I will try. Boy it is boring Thanks for letting me read your comments

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  7. I am asking this question for my friend Frank. He has had neuropathy for years that has progressed from feet to past his waist. His hands are beginning to hurt now and he is asking just how far this will progress and what the future will look like for him?

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  8. I’ve probably got the worst case here. After years of horrible pain and no meds, my feet are completely numb, all the way up to my knees. I almost ripped a toe off once and didn’t know it until I saw the pool of blood. It started happening in my hands a couple years ago. Burning, pain, numbness. I take Gabapentin 3 times a day so I can bear it. My diabetes is out of control. My doctor refused to refer me to an endocrinologist. It took a hand surgeon leading me to a neurologist who finally referred me to one. I just don’t want paralysis in my hands, which is what could happen. I have paralysis in my toes.
    Is there anyone here that this has happened to?

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      • My husband is close to where you are at Suzanne. Just started on the Gabapentin (not because he did not need it before, but because of sheer stubbornness). Feet are totally numb. Lidocaine patches at night seem to help him sleep. Pain is incredible from what I can see. Numbness now starting in his arms and he is scared as am I. His diabetes, blood pressure and kidney function are almost all back to normal but it makes no difference. How do you cope day to day?

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    • My PN started in 2000. Ideopathic bilateral with motor neuron involvement in my toes.
      My feet lost sensation (but still hurt like hell without meds) over a decade ago. My hands started going numb once the feet were “gone”.
      I’m diabetic now but wasn’t for most of the progression.
      It is lonely and painful, both. And terrifying. What will another two decades do to me? I’m only 58.
      I take ibuprofen, oxycarbazapine, and duloxatine. Being dependent on meds is horrid.

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  9. My husband is suffering as well and has been for a year. They have no idea why and has seen many specialists. No issues with diabetes. No feeling up to mid thigh, barely any control of his hands anymore and numb up to his elbow. No ability to move his ankles or toes at all. Completely in a wheelchair and cannot stand. His body is attacking his nervous system for some reason and the docs at two major university hospitals have no idea why. His pain is gone because the feeling is gone. Neck pain started yesterday which is scary. I’m afraid it will not stop….Anyone else have anything like this???

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  10. My neuropathy came from too much chemotherapy, I started chemo July 2019 finish taking chemo January 2020 I found out that the doctor was giving me too much unnecessary chemo so that’s what started the neuropathy started first in my toes now, It’s from my knees down in a small amount in both hands the pain is crazy I’ve taken Lyrica I’ve taken gabapentin four times a day the highest dose I can take did not help but I was having crazy thoughts and was afraid to stay home alone so I had to wing myself off of it I try to keep my mind off of feeling sorry for myself I’m a believe in Christ so I just try to surround myself with positive thoughts, And keeping busy and getting as much walking and exercise as I possibly can which is uncomfortable but I try anyway most of all trying to eat healthy and drink plenty of fluids mostly water. Am I going to beat this I say yes keeping a positive mind keeping my mind on the Lord eating healthy, And trying not to dwell too much on the Pain dwelling on it to me only makes it worse because the pain is crazy, So instead I like to say I’m just explaining not complaining, This is my way of handling it everyone have their own way of handling pain I wish everyone well keep your head up it .

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  11. I was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy in 2008. Went through testing to find the source . Was told that without knowing what’s causing it, they couldn’t treat it. My toes up to below my knees are numb. My toes will curl under my foot when walking which causes me to fall. Now have “foot drop” causing me to wear braces, which does help.
    It is also in my hands which has caused them to slowly turn into claws. I have no strength in my arms. I have tremors in both hands as well as in my forehead, which is a new symptom. I hate the disability causing the loss of self.
    I take gabapentin, DULoxetine, Mysoline, and propanol.
    I’m scared on how far this will go????

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  12. Last year’s colonoscopy revealed a polyp that I was told carries with it a high risk for cancer. I was also diagnosed with GERD. I’ve been experiencing bloating and constipation over the past couple of weeks. Two days ago, I started getting a tingling and burning in my legs and feet. I moisturized but the benefits were short lived. Massage is the only thing that brings relief. Does this sound like possible neuropathy to anyone?

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  13. Long history of severe osteoarthritis and idiopathic sensory/motor peripheral neuropathy. The ‘ant-biting” effect is completely controlled by Baclofen, 10 mg – its a godsend, prescribed by my neurologist (it’s an MS drug, interestingly). Tried Gabapentin and amitriptyline but the side effects were beyond my ability to function. I force myself to get up and move, exercise (with rock and roll music), go outside and putter in the garden because the option is to get more sedentary and more debilitated. PT helped! This is a progressive disease, as we can see and so discouraging. I am so sorry to read the tough cases… will be praying for you! But do anything and everything that helps – even if each thing helps only a little. I am on prescription Diclofenac (NSAIDS), Baclofen and occasional Tramadol

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