Peripheral neuropathy is a common health problem, affecting 25-30% of Americans. Anyone can experience peripheral neuropathy, but people 65 and older are at a heightened risk. At Diabetic Foot and Wound Center in Bakersfield, California, Ruben Nieto, DPM, and the team specialize in diagnosing and treating peripheral neuropathy. To schedule an appointment, call the office or book a consultation online today. Same-day and next-day appointments, plus telehealth, are available.
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that occurs due to permanent damage to the peripheral nerves. Your peripheral nerves send information from your brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) to other parts of your body. They also send sensory signals back to your central nervous system.
If you have peripheral neuropathy, it damages the nerves throughout your body, including the lower extremities. This prevents you from feeling pain, so if you develop a wound, you might not realize it. When left untreated, a wound grows in size and may become infected.
There’s no cure for peripheral neuropathy, but early diagnosis and treatment can ease uncomfortable symptoms and prevent the condition from getting worse.
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy vary depending on the type of nerves affected. Your body contains several types of nerves: sensory nerves, motor nerves, and autonomic nerves.
Telltale signs of peripheral neuropathy include:
If you have peripheral neuropathy, you might also experience pain during seemingly harmless activities, like putting weight on your feet or pulling a blanket over the surface of your skin.
Peripheral neuropathy can occur for a variety of reasons, including:
Other chronic conditions also increase your risk, including kidney disease, liver disease, and hypothyroidism.
To diagnose peripheral neuropathy, your Diabetic Foot and Wound Center provider conducts a thorough physical and neurological exam. They also review your medical history, ask about your lifestyle, drinking habits, and family history of neurological diseases.
Your provider might also order blood tests to rule out diabetes or vitamin deficiencies, nerve function tests, or imaging tests like a CT scan or MRI.
At Diabetic Foot and Wound Center, the team uses integrative treatments to manage peripheral neuropathy. Ultimately, the goal of treatment is to limit the pain and improve your quality of life.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your provider might recommend prescription medicines like pain relievers or anti-seizure medications, topical treatments like lidocaine, or antidepressants.
There are several therapies used to treat peripheral neuropathy. These include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), physical therapy, and plasma exchange and intravenous immune globulin. In rare instances, surgery may be necessary.
If you’re concerned about your risk of peripheral neuropathy, schedule an appointment at Diabetic Foot and Wound Center. Call the office or book a consultation online today.