Peripheral neuropathy generally affects your extremities, but other areas are still susceptible to the effects of this condition. Caused by damage to peripheral nerves, it often results in pain, numbness, and weakness in the affected areas. Medical professionals have identified over 100 different types of peripheral neuropathy, and the symptoms of each can vary depending on which types of nerves are damaged:
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- Autonomic Nerve Damage: Damage to these nerves often leads to issues with controlling your bladder; difficulties sweating normally, which can lead to issues regulating body temperature in hot environments; loss of control over the muscles in charge of contracting and expanding blood vessels, leading to an inability to regulate your blood pressure. Depending on which nerves are damaged, symptoms can include constipation, diarrhea, incontinence, as well as problems swallowing or eating.
- Sensory Nerve Damage: Damage to sensory nerves most often occurs in the hands and feet, and can cause the affected person to feel like they are wearing gloves or socks, and can diminish their ability to sense light touches, loss of reflexes, unfasten or fasten buttons, or to maintain balance with closed eyes. If smaller sensory fibers are damaged, the affected person may lose their ability to feel pain or temperature changes in the affected areas, which can lead to an inability to notice injuries.
- Motor Nerve Damage: Damage to the motor nerves generally causes weakness in the surrounding muscles, but can also lead to painful cramping, uncontrollable muscle twitches, diminished reflexes, and atrophied muscles.
Potential Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
This condition can be caused by a variety of conditions, ranging from trauma to medications to diseases. While there are over a dozen separate causes of peripheral neuropathy, they are generally broken down into three main categories:
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- Physical Trauma: By far the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy, this condition can result from either sudden traumas like a fall, sports-related activity, automobile accident, or surgical complication, or it can result from repeated stress on the nerves through awkward, forceful, and repetitive movements over an extended period of time.
- Disorders and Diseases: A variety of conditions can lead to peripheral neuropathy, including cancers, kidney disorders, autoimmune diseases, Infections, neuromas, HIV, diabetes, endocrine, and metabolic disorders. Diabetes is especially risky because it often restricts blood flow to nerves, leading to over half of people with that condition to suffer from peripheral neuropathy. Regardless, the longer it takes a medical professional to properly treat your disease or disorder, the higher your risk of developing peripheral neuropathy.
- Toxins: A variety of solvents and insecticides, as well as arsenic, lead, and mercury poisoning, have been linked to this condition. Long-term alcohol abuse can directly cause peripheral neuropathy, but deficiencies of vital nutrients like folate, B12, and thiamine can also lead to nerve damage. There are also some medications, like the antibiotic fluoroquinolone – the active component in Levaquin, Avelox, and Cipro – that have recently discovered side effects that can cause peripheral neuropathy.
Get Legal Representation Today
If your peripheral neuropathy was caused by someone else’s negligence, whether it was through the previously unlisted side effects of drugs like Levaquin, a medical error, an injury, or any other reason, contact the law firm of Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC today. Our medical malpractice, personal injury, and drug injury lawyers have the skills and experience necessary to seek the maximum compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free case consultation, or reach out to us at (713) 425-7100 to speak with one of our attorneys.