Anyone who suffers from polyneuropathy does not have an easy life. Unfortunately, affected people often notice this much too late and then have to suffer from nerve damage that is not or only badly curable and often trigger severe pain as the disease progresses.
With this article I would like to give you a short summary of the whole topic and show you what to pay attention to. To do this, I first begin by defining what polyneuropathy actually is, before I point out the causes and then proceed with the symptoms, treatment, and preventative measures.
Towards the end, I also explain again what diabetics can do to stem the damage to their nerves and what is needed to avoid losing their own quality of life.
Polyneuropathy is a disease affecting the peripheral nerves. These are all nerves that are located outside of the brain, spinal cord, and central nervous system.
They in turn contain so-called nerve fibers. The peripheral nervous system connects the spinal cord to muscles, tendons, joints, and bones and internal organs.
Damage to this system can lead to paralysis, sensory and vegetative disturbances.
It is important that the causes are very diverse. They range from inflammation, poisoning, metabolic disorders to circulatory disorders and pathological genes.
In total, there are over 300 different causes that can trigger polyneuropathy. Diabetes mellitus and alcoholism are among the most common triggers. But even the causes just mentioned should not be neglected.
These cause that the blood sugar is permanently increased. The increased blood sugar in turn is directly responsible for the damage to the nerves.
For diabetics it is important to know that on average every second diabetic suffers from polyneuropathy in his life. That’s why preventive measures are essential.
Types of polyneuropathy
Polyneuropathy can in turn be divided into three types. This is the acute polyneuropathy, which starts suddenly and without warning, as well as chronic (slow development over years) and diabetic polyneuropathy.
Acute polyneuropathy can be traced back to a variety of causes. These are often caused by infections, autoimmune diseases, medicines (e.g. some antibiotics and also chemotherapy) as well as cancer and certain toxins.
The causes of chronic polyneuropathy are usually unknown. Diabetes, alcoholism, nutritional deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency and toxins are some of the most prominent triggers. However, the causes of this can be extended by a few more entries.
The so-called diabetic polyneuropathy is again due to diabetes and may include all forms of polyneuropathy.
As we already know, polyneuropathy is expressed by damaging the peripheral nerves, which in turn can lead to paralysis and sensory disturbances.
The nerve disorders are characterized in that it can lead to motor, autonomic and sensory disorders.
Polyneuropathy can be distributed differently on the body. When it concerns both feet and arms, we speak of a symmetrical polyneuropathy. If only one side of the body is affected, asymmetric polyneuropathy occurs and if only body parts distant from the trunk are affected, there is a distal polyneuropathy.
This, in turn, lets us know that the symptoms can vary widely. Thus, the manifestation of the symptoms depends strongly on the cause that triggers polyneuropathy.
It is also important to know that the symptoms usually develop over a longer period of time. However, depending on the cause, ailments can occur suddenly and within a very short time.
What role do sensory disorders play in polyneuropathy?
As regards sensory disturbances, it can be said that these affect the extremities d. H. occur in the feet and arms. Symptoms vary depending on whether the sensory, motor or autonomic nerves are affected.
If the sensory nerves are affected, sensory disturbances are characterized by tingling, running of ants, feelings of numbness and feelings of swelling and the feeling of walking on cotton wool. When the motor nerves are affected, it will disrupt them.
So walking is often harder and it comes to muscle twitching, muscle spasms and muscle weakness and muscle atrophy. When sensory disturbances occur in the autonomic nerves, sufferers often complain of pupillary dysfunction, fluid retention (edema), ulcers, decreased sweating, palpitations, stomach paralysis and diarrhea.
If you have polyneuropathy, the question of healing is paramount. It can first be determined that the treatment depends on the causes of the disease.
Because if the complaint is the result of another underlying disease, it must first be treated and eliminated. As you know, there are over 300 causes or triggers of diseases that cause polyneuropathy to break out.
Diabetes usually plays a role that is not negligible. Diabetics who suffer from polyneuropathy should pay so much attention to a consistent blood sugar control.
Basically, one can say that nerve damage is not or only to a limited extent to heal. However, these must be treated anyway, as only so can ensure that the disease does not expand too much.
This can be achieved through the use of medication. The most commonly used drugs are analgesics, antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, cold and heat treatments and physiotherapy.
In addition, it is advisable to contact the family doctor, as this can give the advice of a professional.
This is how an effective therapy succeeds
An effective therapy of polyneuropathy is characterized by an attempt to eliminate or treat the cause of the disease as far as possible. Because only this white one can prevent an aggravation of the disease.
This manifests itself completely differently depending on the type of disease. For example, alcoholics should carry out the most efficient withdrawal possible. Diabetics should turn their blood sugar as tight as possible.
If vitamin B12 deficiency is the cause of the disease, then a balanced diet should be used. If toxins or drugs are the cause of polyneuropathy, these should also be avoided. This list can be continued so on.
To find out what causes you, you should contact your doctor and plan how to get rid of the cause.
If we now ask ourselves the question of whether perfect healing is possible, we can simply say that this is not possible. This is for the simple reason that once damaged nerves can not be restored.
But what is always possible is a reduction in pain. So there are various ways in which the disease can be alleviated. For pain in the nerves painkillers can be used. Insofar as these are very strong, opioids can also be used.
If the pain is so persistent that even painkillers are not sufficient therapy with a pain therapist is recommended. If convulsions frequently occur, it is recommended to use anti-spasmodic agents such as anticonvulsants.
Finally, mood-lifting agents can also be used as antidepressants. These inhibit the transmission of pain signals in the spinal cord.
Can you prevent polyneuropathy?
Preventing polyneuropathy is difficult, if not impossible. This is particularly so because there are 300 different causes that cause polyneuropathy to break out.
However, if the cause is known, consistent treatment can help to prevent the nerve damage from occurring. For this, however, this must be known early and be started as soon as possible with the treatment.
In diabetics damage to the nerves can be prevented by the blood sugar is adjusted well in the long term. Regardless, polyneuropathy in diabetic patients must be treated at different levels.
With the numbness that polyneuropathy brings with it, there is a risk that a diabetic foot may form. A neglected treatment can lead to injuries on the feet, which can grow into serious wounds and even make amputation necessary in the long term.
What you have to pay attention to in the care of the diabetic foot, you will find in my diabetic foot article.
Except for this case, however, polyneuropathy is poorly preventable. Therefore, it is even more important that the treatment is started as early as possible, as it is the only way to prevent the development of serious neurological disorders that, in combination with the resulting pain, can become almost unbearable.