If you have diabetes, you may be at increased risk of developing neuropathy. At A Ray of Hope: Great Lakes Institute of Neurology and Psychiatry in Libertyville, Illinois, the team of doctors offers comprehensive care to help you manage ongoing symptoms of neuropathy. To find out more about available treatment options for pain and other symptoms of neuropathy, call or request an appointment using the online booking feature.
Neuropathy describes nerve damage in the peripheral nervous system. These nerves are responsible for providing sensations to all areas of your body outside of your spinal cord and brain.
Your peripheral nervous system has three types of nerves:
Sensory nerves involve your five senses. These nerves carry messages to your brain that give you touch, taste, hearing, sight, and smell sensations.
Motor nerves are responsible for controlling the contraction and relaxation of your muscles by carrying messages between your muscles and brain.
The autonomic nerves regulate many functions of your body you don’t control directly, such as your breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion.
The leading cause of neuropathy is diabetes. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can damage and destroy the nerve cells in the peripheral nervous system over time and lead to a variety of serious health complications.
You can also develop neuropathy due to trauma from falls, car accidents, or other events, underlying autoimmune diseases, and the use of certain medications. In some cases, the root cause of neuropathy is unknown.
The symptoms of neuropathy vary depending on what type of nerve has damage. In general, any type of nerve damage relating to neuropathy can cause:
Pain, weakness, and numbness typically affects your hands and feet but can also occur in your arms and legs. In severe cases of neuropathy, you may experience difficulties controlling your bowel and bladder function.
During your evaluation at A Ray of Hope: Great Lakes Institute of Neurology and Psychiatry for symptoms of neuropathy, your doctor spends time reviewing your medical history and discussing the frequency and severity of your symptoms.
To better understand your symptoms, your doctor checks your muscle strength, your coordination, and reflexes during a neurological exam. They may request blood work to rule out infections and assess your blood sugar levels.
You may also need a nerve conduction study that involves placing electrodes on your skin to evaluate how well your nerves and muscles are working.
Once your physician determines your symptoms are related to neuropathy, they create a treatment plan to manage your condition and prevent additional nerve damage.
Medications can be useful for controlling your pain and may include antidepressants or anti-seizure medicines that change how your body transmits pain signals to your brain. Topical medications that contain lidocaine, a numbing agent, can provide temporary relief of pain.
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy and at-home exercises to help improve your balance and coordination. They will work on diet and lifestyle habits, so you can enjoy a high quality of life and better cope with your symptoms.
If you have symptoms of neuropathy and need a diagnostic evaluation, call A Ray of Hope: Great Lakes Institute of Neurology and Psychiatry, or schedule an appointment using the online booking system today.