As for neuropathy meaning, scientifically, it is a nerve problem that causes pain, numbness, tingling, swelling, or muscle weakness in different parts of the body. It usually begins in the hands or feet and gets worse over time. Neuropathic pain appears according to the damage or injury to the nerves that transfer information between the brain and spinal cord from the skin, muscles, and other parts of the body. Pain is usually a burning sensation, and affected areas are often sensitive to the touch. Also, neuropathy may be caused by cancer or cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy.
What is peripheral neuropathy? Getting to the definition for peripheral neuropathy, it is a disease affecting the peripheral nerves, meaning nerves beyond the brain and spinal cord. It can result from traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems, inherited causes, and exposure to toxins. One of the most common causes of neuropathy is diabetes. People with peripheral neuropathy generally describe the pain as stabbing, burning, or tingling.
Neuropathic pain can appear if your nervous system is damaged or does not function properly. You can feel pain from any of the various levels of the nervous system — the peripheral nerves, the spinal cord, and the brain. Together, the spinal cord and the brain are known as the central nervous system.
What are the stages of neuropathy
Getting to the definition for neuropathy, we want to highlight that it is a chronic disease that forms because of damaging or compressing the nerves outside the spinal cord and brain. One suffering from neuropathy may experience various symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness, burning, or weakness in the affected extremity. These features of neuropathy may differ related to the duration of the nerves that have been compressed and the level of damage they have sustained. When a patient suffers from neuropathy, it is essential to determine a phase to choose the proper treatment.
- First phase: Numbness & Pain
At first, we want to note that the faster you determine the disease, the easier it will be to notice your symptoms. Getting to the definition of neuropathic on its beginning stage, patients become aware that something feels “off” with the nerves in their hands and/or feet. You may recognize that sensations on your feet aren’t as intense as they used to be and that your balance and reflexes are a little off. Most people ignore these symptoms because they’re so minor or rare that they don’t realize something is wrong.
However, the sooner a patient seeks treatment for neuropathy, the better surgical outcomes may be.
- Second phase: Constant Pain
When your peripheral neuropathy progresses to stage two, the pain and numbness will be more consistent and regular. This stage is a great time to seek medical treatment and get to the root of the neuropathy before the nerves become more permanently damaged. There is no fine line between the first and second phases, but we can say precisely that you’ll notice your symptoms more often with the arrival of a second stage, which will be challenging to ignore. Unfortunately, the second phase may be the last chance for making an appointment with a doctor to heal your damaged nerves completely.
- Third phase: Intense Pain
In the third stage, a patient is suffering from the pain the most, almost every day. A lot of simple tasks, like walking barefoot, which seemed easy for you before, will become almost impossible. You may have tried a couple of pain medications but realized that they don’t help. Due to the damage to your nerves, you may not feel injuries to your lower legs and feet. It can also take much longer for cuts and other damage to your feet to heal, which can lead to festering wounds. Infection can set in if you’re not careful.
- Fourth phase: Complete Numbness/ Loss of Sensation
The brightest expression of the definition for nephropathy manifests by stage four, when your lower legs and feet will start becoming very numb because there will no longer be any healthy nerves to carry signals to your brain. The leg pain will begin to decline, but there is no reason to be happy, as it usually turns to its numbness. It is a signal about dying of your nerves.
At stage four, nerve damage is permanent. It’s still possible to achieve some improvement, but overall, you’re going to have to live with some of this numbness. If your neuropathy is accompanied by diabetes, likely, you’re already experiencing other issues such as loss of eyesight or kidney damage.
Not a single disease, peripheral neuropathy, is nerve damage caused by several conditions. Health conditions that can cause peripheral neuropathy include:
- Diabetes. More than half the people suffering from neuropathy had diabetes before.
- Inherited disorders. Disorders such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth illness are hereditary types of neuropathy.
- Drag and poisons. Toxic substances include industrial chemicals and heavy metals such as lead and mercury. Also, certain medications matter, especially those used to treat cancer (chemotherapy), which can cause peripheral neuropathy.
- Injury. Injuries, such as motor vehicle accidents, falls, or sports, can affect the condition of your nerves.
- Lack of vitamins. B vitamins — including B-1, B-6, and B-12 — vitamin E and niacin are crucial to nerve health.
How do you calm down neuropathy?
- Exercise. Find an activity that meets your needs and discuss it with your doctor. Gentle routines such as yoga, walking around the block, and swimming will be the right decision to keep your strength up.
- Quit bad habits. Abusing alcohol can lead to neuropathy by making it more challenging for the organism to absorb B12 and protein. Also, smoking can affect your blood circulation and raise the risk of developing peripheral neuropathy.
Healthy food. If you are suffering from neuropathy, you should avoid salty foods such as potato chips, processed meals, cold cuts, and fast food, which can be problematic because high salt levels may restrict blood flow.