An estimated 20 million people in the United States have some form of neuropathy. There are various types of neuropathy depending on what nerves are damaged, compressed or defective. Peripheral neuropathy is the most common, but there is also proximal, autonomic and focal neuropathy. Your symptoms can stem from one nerve being affected (mononeuropathy), all your nerves (poly) or two nerves being damaged (multiple mononeuropathy). Learn about the various types of neuropathy, how they affect you and how you can treat them!
Millions of people won’t ever know what it’s like to struggle with neuropathy. However, for the 20 million people in the United States alone that have neuropathy, it can completely change a life. The different types of neuropathy affect about 8% of people over age 55. To be healthy and have your body function normally, so many different systems in your body need to function properly. Your nerve system is especially important, because it is through your nerves that you interpret hot and cold, every sensation and how you interact with your environment. If you can feel your arm or your leg right now (or any other part of your body), that is because your nerves are working properly, sending your brain information in an instant.
However, many people have one or more nerves that don’t function as they should. Neuropathy itself, is a term that means “disease or dysfunction of one or more peripheral nerves.” Just one small nerve can be damaged in your body, causing you to feel symptoms throughout an entire arm, leg, or other extremity. Peripheral neuropathy had the most common symptoms of numbness, tingling, weakness, tremors, or chronic pain. However, the different types of neuropathy can also induce symptoms such as fatigue, headaches and migraines, limited range-of-motion, stiff neck or back muscles, and inflammation in the affected area. Some people have symptoms in one centralized area of their body, while others will have symptoms in multiple areas.
There are different types of neuropathy depending on how many nerves are damaged or defective. Your type of neuropathy also depends on what is causing it. The main categories of neuropathy include:
You may also see the different types of neuropathy referred to by where the neuropathy symptoms are located or by what causes the neuropathy. Examples include:
These are just a few types of neuropathy, as there are many. For your specific diagnosis of neuropathy, you will have to see a medical professional to know the cause and to determine the affected nerves.
Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common types of neuropathy. Diabetes causes many different types of problems in the body and with your circulation and hormones. Diabetes can lead to poor circulation in many of the millions it affects, which leads to the limbs not receiving enough blood. Poor circulation can damage nerves and can even lead to limb amputation.
Diabetic neuropathy cannot be cured, but some treatments can be helpful for patients who have neuropathy symptoms. Treatments such as electrostimulation, massage therapy, exercise, nerve injections, physical therapy and more can help patients with diabetic neuropathy. We actually recommend that patients with diabetic neuropathy receive treatment for their symptoms, especially when circulation is affected. You want to do all you can to avoid limb amputation and death, as diabetic neuropathy can lead to both of these without treatment from a medical professional. No matter if you have this type of neuropathy or one of the many other types of neuropathy, seeking treatment can help improve your quality of life and even your life expectancy.