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What Causes Non-Diabetic Neuropathy?

By Catherine Chase ; Updated July 27, 2017

Definition

Neuropathy refers to nerve damage. It can affect all of your nerves in addition to muscles, organs, and joints. When the upper body is afflicted with neuropathy, it may result in muscle weakness or difficulty gripping objects. Lower body neuropathies typically lead to loss of sensation in the feet, as well as balancing and walking difficulties. You may also experience tingling, burning, aching and numbness. Diabetes can lead to neuropathy; however, there are many other possible causes.

Vitamin B

B vitamins play a major role in nerve health. B vitamin deficiencies could contribute to or cause neuropathy. Specifically, if you have a daily intake of less than 0.2 mg of thiamine (vitamin B1), it will cause a breakdown of the axonal sheaths of your nerves. The rest of the B vitamins also play essential roles in maintaining healthy nerves.

Pantothenic Acid Deficiency

The recommended daily intake of pantothenic acid is 6 to 10 mg. However, the body tissues store large amounts of pantothenic acid, and neuropathy because of a deficiency is rare. Symptoms of neuropathy due to this deficiency are painful burning in the feet as well as weakness and fatigue.

Preexisting Diseases

Individuals who are sensitive to gluten, such as those with celiac disease, may experience neuropathy. Additionally, people with HIV/AIDS, lupus, kidney disease, liver disease, Guillain-Barre syndrome, hypothyroidism and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease are more susceptible to neuropathy. Some medications may list neuropathy as a potential side effect, such as those that treat cancer.

Alcoholism

The ethanol in alcohol interferes with absorption of key nutrients--particularly thiamine, niacin and folate. Alcohol is toxic to the body, and its interference with key body functions can cause nerve damage with prolonged exposure. Among the symptoms of chronic alcohol dependency, neuropathy is often the earliest detectable.

Trauma

Simple physical trauma may also result in nerve damage. If you’ve worn a cast, used crutches or participated in any activity that required holding an unnatural position for a long time, this may result in excess pressure on a nerve.

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