5-Star Neuropathy Specialists In Aurora, Chicago, Des Plaines, Glenview, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Libertyville, Oak Lawn, Oak Park & Roselle, IL
Neuropathy is the term used to describe a problem with the nerves, usually the ‘peripheral nerves’ as opposed to the ‘central nervous system’ (the brain and spinal cord).
Neuropathy is seen with a number of different underlying medical conditions. It can also exist without the cause being possible to diagnose, which doctors call ‘idiopathic.’
CAUSES OF NEUROPATHY
Many different conditions can lead to peripheral neuropathy:
- Diabetes is the most common cause of chronic peripheral neuropathy. High blood sugar levels in people with poorly controlled diabetes can damage the nerves.
- B12 or folate vitamin deficiencies can cause nerve damage and peripheral neuropathy.
- Drugs such as some chemotherapy medication and medicines used to treat HIV can cause damage to peripheral nerves.
- Poisons (toxins), including insecticides and solvents, can cause peripheral nerve damage.
- Cancers such as lymphoma or multiple myeloma can cause peripheral neuropathy to occur.
- Excessive alcohol intake and high alcohol levels in the body cause nerve damage.
- Chronic kidney disease can also be a cause. If the kidneys are not functioning normally, an imbalance of salts and chemicals can cause peripheral neuropathy.
- Chronic liver disease can also lead to peripheral neuropathy.
- Injuries like broken bones and tight plaster casts can put pressure directly on the nerves.
- Infections can bring about problems, too. Damage can be caused to peripheral nerves by some infections including shingles, HIV infection, and Lyme disease.
- Guillain-Barré syndrome is the name given to a specific type of peripheral neuropathy triggered by infection.
- Connective tissue diseases can be a cause, including rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, and systemic lupus erythematosus.
- Certain inflammatory conditions, including sarcoidosis and coeliac disease, can also cause peripheral neuropathy.
- Hereditary diseases such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome and Friedreich’s ataxia may lead to peripheral neuropathy.
- In a few people, no specific cause is found for their peripheral neuropathy. This is known as idiopathic peripheral neuropathy.
TYPES OF TESTS FOR NEUROPATHY
Nerve Conduction Studies:
- Nerve conduction studies check the speed with which nerves send messages.
- Special electrodes are placed on the skin over the nerve being tested.
- These electrodes give off very small electrical impulses that feel a bit like a small electric shock which stimulate the nerve.
- Other electrodes record the electrical activity of the nerve.
- The distance that the impulses travel to the other electrodes and the time that this takes allows the speed of the nerve impulse to be calculated.
- In peripheral neuropathy, this speed is reduced.
- This test looks at the electrical activity of the muscles.
- A very thin needle with an electrode attached is inserted through the skin into a muscle.
- This is connected up to a recording machine called an oscilloscope.
- The way that the muscle responds when it is stimulated by nerves can then be monitored using the oscilloscope and recorded.
- In peripheral neuropathy, the electrical activity will be abnormal.
- This is the removal of a small part of a nerve so that it can be examined under a microscope.
- This is a new technique that has been developed to examine the peripheral nerves.
- It can be used to look for early peripheral neuropathy and also to monitor progression of neuropathy and response to treatment.
- Amongst other things, the density of nerve fibres in the area of skin is measured.
- In peripheral neuropathy, the density of the peripheral nerves is reduced.
Over 200,000 Happy Feet Have Found Relief With The Chicago Podiatrists At Weil Foot & Ankle Institute
Please call our Chicago podiatry office at (847) 390-7666 if you have any additional questions about neuropathy and testing for neuropathy. We will be happy to provide you with all the information that you may need. With 15 podiatry offices in and around the Chicago area, there is sure to be an office near you!