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Long-Term Effects of Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that affects the nerves outside of the brain or spinal cord 12. It can cause changes to sensation, movement and involuntary functions. Pressure on the nerves can cause peripheral neuropathy, as can certain conditions such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, an inherited disorder 12. MedlinePlus, a website of the National Institutes of Health, points out that some types of peripheral neuropathy do not have a cure 12. The nerve damage from this condition can have lasting effects.

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If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Reduced Feeling

Peripheral neuropathy affects three types of nerves: sensory, motor and autonomic 12. The sensory nerves relay information to the brain such as a change in temperature. When peripheral neuropathy damages the sensory nerves, patients can experience nerve pain, burning sensations or tingling 12. Some patients may have numbness that starts in the feet and moves up in the body. MayoClinic.com explains that with the numbness, patients can have reduced feeling in their limbs, which can affect their ability to sense changes. Problems can arise, such as in the case of a peripheral neuropathy patient who cannot feel pain in his feet and therefore does not notice a foot injury 12. If the injury goes untreated, an infection can develop.

Problems Moving

Since peripheral neuropathy can affect the motor nerves, patients may have a partial or total loss of movement and muscle control 12. For example, patients may experience paralysis of certain parts of the body such as the arms or legs. MedlinePlus points out that patients may fall from tripping over themselves. Peripheral neuropathy can cause muscle atrophy, in which patients lose some muscle tissue 12. Patients may have a lack of muscle control and dexterity, which can affect their ability to do tasks that require fine movements, such as writing with a pen. Damage to the autonomic nerves, which control the involuntary functions, can also impair movement. For example, patients can have dizziness when they stand up.

Weight Loss

Peripheral neuropathy patients may lose weight as a result of the autonomic nerve damage symptoms 12. MedlinePlus points out that peripheral neuropathy patients can lose more than 5 percent of their body weight 12. They may have nausea and vomiting after meals. The autonomic symptoms of peripheral neuropathy cause patients to feel full after eating a small amount of food, which can also affect weight 12. Motor nerve damage in the throat can affect patients' ability to swallow, which may cause them to eat less.

Low Self-esteem

MedlinePlus explains that the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy can cause patients to have low self-esteem 12. For example, male peripheral neuropathy patients may feel self-conscious about impotency problems 12. Urinary incontinence, or urine leakage, is another embarrassing problem related to peripheral neuropathy that can affect self-esteem 12.

The Wrap Up

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that affects the nerves outside of the brain or spinal cord2. The nerve damage from this condition can have lasting effects. Since peripheral neuropathy can affect the motor nerves, patients may have a partial or total loss of movement and muscle control2. For example, patients may experience paralysis of certain parts of the body such as the arms or legs. MedlinePlus points out that patients may fall from tripping over themselves. The autonomic symptoms of peripheral neuropathy cause patients to feel full after eating a small amount of food, which can also affect weight2.

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