Neuropathy – Understanding the Types and Symptoms

Neuropathy is a broad term used to refer to a group of nerve diseases or malfunctions. Nerves can get damaged or destroyed at any location in the human body. Thus, neuropathy is categorized as per the type and location of the nerves affected. Read on to know more.

Various types of neuropathy

  • Peripheral neuropathy: This is a condition that affects the nerves located around the brain and spinal cord.
  • Cranial neuropathy: Cranial neuropathy is a condition in which the cranial nerves, i.e., the nerves exiting from the brain, get damaged or destroyed. This type is further divided into auditory neuropathy and optic neuropathy.
  • Autonomic neuropathy: This condition involves damage to the nerves associated with the involuntary nervous system.
  • Focal neuropathy: Focal neuropathy is a condition in which a single nerve or groups of nerves belonging to one area of the body gets damaged.

5 common neuropathy symptoms
Generally, all cases of neuropathy are linked with a few characteristic symptoms. However, the severity of these neuropathy symptoms varies from person to person. In few cases, a person may not experience any symptoms at all.

The 5 common symptoms of neuropathy include the following:

  • Dizziness or fainting and muscle weakness
  • Tingling or burning sensation
  • Increased sensitivity to touch
  • Dysfunction in the organs or glands
  • Urinary symptoms, such as difficulty to urinate, incontinence, or a strange feeling that the bladder was not completely emptied

In order to understand the various neuropathy symptoms, it is imperative to understand how the condition acts in the body. Our body’s nervous system is divided into two parts:

  • Central nervous system – This includes the brain and the spinal cord.
  • Peripheral nervous system – This is responsible for carrying the messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

The peripheral nervous system is further divided into two types—voluntary nervous system and involuntary nervous system. While the former controls all functions we are aware of, such as moving limbs, the latter regulates processes we cannot direct, such as breathing, heartbeat, and digestion.

Cases of neuropathy can involve damage to any voluntary or involuntary nerves. Motor and sensory nerves can also be affected due to neuropathy.

When to consult a doctor
In case you experience any symptoms of neuropathy, it is advisable to immediately consult a trained doctor. He might perform certain tests such as X-rays, MRI, CT scan, EMG, NCV, or a nerve biopsy to reach an accurate diagnosis.