Types of neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy: Nerves are distributed throughout the body, in the arms, legs, face and trunk. Most of the time, neuropathy affects the nerves of the arms or legs. This is typically called peripheral neuropathy, and it is by far the most common type of neuropathy.
Polyneuropathy: When more than one nerve is affected by neuropathy, this is called polyneuropathy. Polyneuropathy typically occurs when a disease of the body causes damage to the nerves.
Mononeuropathy: Sometimes neuropathy affects one specific nerve or a few nerves in one isolated location of the body. For example, Bell’s palsy is a neuropathy that affects the facial nerve (the 7th cranial nerve) and produces weakness one side of the face. It usually happens without any cause or explanation and often improves on its own. Another mononeuropathy, peroneal nerve palsy, may occur as a result of pressure on a nerve in the leg.
Hereditary neuropathies: There are a few hereditary neuropathies. The most common of these is Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, which affects motor nerves and sensory nerves. The incidence is quite rare, and there is new genetic testing for this disease.
Causes of Neuropathy
There are a number of common causes of neuropathy.
Diabetes is the most common cause of neuropathy. Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes cause neuropathy due to the buildup of toxins in the body that damage nerves and blood vessels. The best way to manage diabetic neuropathy is by maintaining proper glucose control.
Alcoholic neuropathy is another common type of neuropathy. Frequent, heavy alcohol use results in the buildup of a number of toxins that damage nerves. In addition, chronic alcohol use also results in malnutrition that damages nerves.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Malnutrition can cause neuropathy due to a lack of essential vitamins and minerals. The most commonly identified vitamin deficiency that causes neuropathy is vitamin b12 deficiency.
There are a number of medications that cause neuropathy, usually as a result of direct damage to the nerves. Medications that cause neuropathy normally list neuropathy or peripheral neuropathy as possible side effects on the warning label.
Chemotherapy is a powerful medicine that is used to treat cancer and other diseases. Many chemotherapeutic medications are known to cause neuropathy as a side effect. Given the dangerousness of most types of cancer, peripheral neuropathy is often considered the lesser of two evils when chemotherapeutic medications are used.