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What Are the Causes of Bilateral Median Nerve Neuropathy?

By Jacques Courseault ; Updated August 14, 2017

The median nerve is one of three nerves in the arm that detect sensation and control movement in the arms and hands. A neuropathy is damage to the nerve that causes the patient to experience numbness, tingling, pain and weakness along the nerve affected. This commonly occurs in conditions that put pressure on the bilateral nerves as they pass through narrow areas in the arm of wrist. Thus, treatment of the primary condition causing the neuropathy is necessary to alleviate symptoms.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The carpal tunnel is a narrow, tunnel-like structure in the wrist. The median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel to detect sensation and control hand function. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the tissues that surround the wrist swell and decrease available space in the carpal tunnel. This results in median nerve compression, which causes numbness, tingling and weakness in the hand. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), common causes of bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome include heredity, bilateral repetitive wrist and hand use, hormonal changes, age and other medical conditions.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormone. A lack of thyroid hormone can cause deposits to form in tissue that can block blood flow and lead to nerve compression, states MedlinePlus from the National Institutes of Health. Untreated hypothyroidism can cause numbness, tingling and weakness along bilateral median nerves. A patient must receive treatment for hypothyroidism to prevent further bilateral median nerve neuropathy.

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Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition in which high levels of blood sugar cause damage to small blood vessels that provide nutrients to nerves, such as the bilateral median nerves. As diabetes worsens, blood vessels can become more damaged, which leads to worsening bilateral median nerve neuropathy. A patient with diabetic neuropathy is likely to experience numbness, tingling, pain and weakness along bilateral median nerves. Strict control of blood sugar levels is necessary to prevent further median nerve damage.

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