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1. How can peripheral neuropathy be diagnosed?
Peripheral neuropathy is diagnosed by reviewing the medical/surgical history along with a complete neurological examination to check for muscle strength, tone, reflexes and sensations. Other tests include blood test to check for vitamin deficiency, autoimmune disorders and blood sugars; MRI/CT scan to check for disc prolapse and tumours; and electromyography to check for nerve damage.
2. What are the different types of peripheral neuropathy?
There are three types of peripheral neuropathy: motor, sensory and autonomic. In motor neuropathy, nerves damage causes muscle weakness, difficulty in walking, moving arms and legs, cramps and spasms. In sensory neuropathy, there is tingling or numbness sensations, pain sensitivity to touch. In autonomic neuropathy, there is nausea, vomiting, urinary troubles dizziness and more sweating.
3. What are the factors that can cause peripheral neuropathy?
The most common cause leading to peripheral neuropathy is diabetes. Other factors are physical injuries, autoimmune diseases, deficiencies of vitamins B1, B6, B12, alcoholism, administration of some medications such as anti convulsants, BP medications, etc.
4. How does transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation help to treat peripheral neuropathy?
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a helpful drug-free method in which electrodes are placed on the skin and they send small amounts of electricity into the skin (helping in signal transmission) as nerves cannot send pain signals to brain, thereby helping the patient with peripheral neuropathy.
5. Can lifestyle changes help in prevention of neuropathy?
Lifestyle changes such as yoga, meditation, regular exercises, decrease in alcohol intake, refraining from smoke along with proper vitamin supplementation, wearing shoes to protect from injuries are helpful in the prevention and management of peripheral neuropathy.