« Autonomic Neuropathy | Main | Ringworm »


Neuropathy is a disease of the peripheral nervous system. Many people with diabetes eventually develop nerve damage. The three major forms of nerve damage are: peripheral neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, auditory neuropathy, and mononeuropathy. The most common form is peripheral neuropathy, which mainly affects the feet and legs.

Besides diabetes, the common causes of neuropathy are herpes zoster infection, chronic or acute trauma (including surgery) and various neurotoxins. Neuropathic pain is common in cancer as a direct result of the cancer on peripheral nerves (e.g., compression by a tumor) and as a side effect of many chemotherapy drugs.

signs and symptoms of neuropathy

Neuropathy often results in numbness, abnormal sensations called dysthesias and allodynias that occur either spontaneously or in reaction to external stimuli, and a characteristic form of pain, called neuropathic pain or neuralgia, that is qualitatively different from the ordinary nociceptive pain one might experience from stubbing a toe or hitting a finger with a hammer.

Neuropathic pain is usually perceived as a steady burning and/or "pins and needles" and/or "electric shock" sensations. The difference is due to the fact that "ordinary" pain stimulates only pain nerves, while a neuropathy often results in the firing of both pain and non-pain (touch, warm, cool) sensory nerves in the same area, producing signals that the spinal cord and brain do not normally expect to receive.

Auditory neuropathy

Auditory neuropathy (AN) is a form of hearing loss in which the cochlea's hair cells are present and functional, but the sound signal does not reach the auditory nerve and brain properly. There are several possible causes of auditory neuropathy. AN is likely under-diagnosed due to the difficult of distinguishing AN from hearing loss caused damage to the hair cells.

Because the cochlea is properly detecting the sound but the nerve impulses can not either reach or be interpreted by the brain, hearing aids are usually not beneficial (though in cases with residual hearing improvement in signal to noise can help).

Posted by Staff at June 8, 2005 8:38 AM

blog comments powered by Disqus

Comments Archive

I am experiencing extreme pain in lower leg area and swealing. How can I tell if it is neuropathy or Plibitis .have had that before but this is more extreme and painful,can not touch legs from knee down.
Can I get help?

Posted by: Clara Wulf at February 5, 2007 12:29 PM