7 Life-Changing Side Effects Of Peripheral Neuropathy
A condition associated primarily with diabetes, peripheral neuropathy occurs when nerves outside a person’s brain or spinal cord are subjected to pressure and subsequently damaged. When this occurs, the result is long-lasting and often irreversible damage that leads to changes in a person’s involuntary functions, sensations, and movement. Because of these changes, it is not uncommon for there to be many side effects from peripheral neuropathy that lead to changes that must be dealt with each day. If you or a loved one are experiencing peripheral neuropathy and want to learn more about what side effects may occur, here are seven common ones that may be experienced.
Reduced Feeling in Limbs
Once peripheral neuropathy begins to occur in an individual, one of the most common life-changing side effects is reduced feeling in one’s limbs. Most often, this begins in the feet and moves up into the legs, but can also take place in a person’s hands and arms as well. Upon this taking place, limbs are routinely numb and thus do not allow a person to sense pain or other changes such as temperature extremes. Thus, it can become possible for a person to get burned without knowing it, or to not realize an injury has occurred in their feet, which if left untreated can lead to a serious infection.
Lack of Muscle Control and Dexterity
When this occurs, the result can be difficulty performing simple tasks such as holding a pen to write or a cup from which to drink. Also, damage to autonomic nerves that control involuntary movements can lead to a person feeling dizzy when they attempt to stand.
Nausea and Vomiting
Due to damage to the autonomic nerve system, many persons experiencing peripheral neuropathy deal with nausea and vomiting after meals. Since nerve damage of this nature focuses often on the throat and stomach of a person, there can be difficulty swallowing food and problems digesting food once it enters the stomach.
Due to the difficulties associated with eating and digesting food, many people who live with peripheral neuropathy experience significant weight loss. In many cases, a person may lose well over five percent of their body weight due to their inability to eat very often or have a substantial meal when eating. Because of this, many individuals rely on liquid diets or must eat foods that are easy to digest, such as applesauce, soup, and pudding.
Greatly affecting a person’s self-esteem, urinary incontinence and urinary leakage are two common problems associated with peripheral neuropathy. Affecting both men and women, these two conditions can affect self-esteem and lead to a person isolating themselves from others and choosing not to venture out to social events.
Disturbed Sleep Patterns
Since patients experiencing peripheral neuropathy experience pain, tingling and numbness in their limbs, and sharp pains that are often compared to receiving an electrical shock, they can find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. By having their sleep patterns disturbed, people may feel more fatigued during the day, resulting in them being able to do fewer and fewer activities they may have once enjoyed.
Finally, in extreme cases of peripheral neuropathy, certain people may experience varying degrees of paralysis of their arms and legs. Depending on the extent of the nerve damage and the length of time peripheral neuropathy has been present, some people may find themselves unable to walk at all, or at the least have very limited mobility. As a result, they often trip and fall when attempting to stand up and take only a few steps.
While in many cases the side effects of peripheral neuropathy are irreversible, it is nevertheless important for those dealing with this condition to work closely with doctors and counselors. In doing so, they can often find ways to limit certain side effects and learn coping strategies to deal with depression and low self-esteem.