What is Nerve Damage?
Nerve damage refers to injured nerves that malfunction as a result of their damage. Damaged nerves send false signals to the brain, either relaying pain signals when there is nothing causing pain, or failing to relay a pain signal when something is harming the area.
What causes Nerve Damage?
Nerve damage can be caused by injury, infection, illness or genetic disorders, including:
• Trauma — Injury or accidents are the most common cause of nerve damage
• Diabetes — An estimated 25% to 60% of people with diabetes suffer from nerve damage, which becomes more likely as the disease progresses; burning and numbness are common in diabetic nerve damage
• Cancer — Cancerous masses can push against nerves, and some forms of the disease itself, as well as chemotherapy and radiation treatments, can weaken or erode nerves
• Autoimmune diseases — Multiple sclerosis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, Guillain-Barré syndrome, myasthenia gravis and others
• Infectious diseases — Lyme disease, herpes, HIV and Hepatitis C can all affect nerves
• Motor neuron diseases — ALS, among others, can impact the nerves in the brain and spinal column, which communicate with all parts of the body
• Nutritional deficiencies — Deficiencies in vitamins E, B1, B6 and B12, as well as other nutrients, can cause nerve damage that often produces weakness or burning sensations; gastric surgery and drinking too much alcohol can also deprive the body of nutrients vital to avoiding nerve damage
• Hypothyroidism — When the body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, fluid retention can cause pressure on nerve tissues
• Exposure to drugs or toxins — Including lead; arsenic; mercury; some medications that treat HIV, cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular problems and bacterial infections; alcohol (when abused); insecticides; solvents
What are some symptoms of Nerve Damage?
Nerve damage symptoms occur in a number of ways, including:
• Numbness, tingling, prickling or burning
• Weakness or partial paralysis
• Trouble gripping objects
• Problems with positional awareness
• Lower blood pressure
• Sexual dysfunction (more common in men)
• Constipation, diarrhea and other digestion difficulties
• Dry eyes/mouth
• Muscle atrophy
• Thinning of the skin
Symptoms tend to occur more at night, affecting sleep.
What are some risk factors for Nerve Damage?
In addition to the causes listed above, the following risk factors increase the chance of nerve damage:
• High blood pressure
• High blood sugar levels
• High triglycerides
• Alcohol abuse
• Family history of neuropath
• Repetitive motion, like at a job
What treatments are available for Nerve Damage?
While nerve damage cannot always be completely cured, various tactics and treatments can reduce the symptoms. These include:
• Physical therapy
• Prescription regiments for pain relief, antidepressants, anti-seizure medications