Neuropathy is nerve damage. It creates nerve pain. When the nerve breaks down due to disease, chemical toxins, trauma, etc., the myelin sheath begins to break down. This creates a short circuit similar to what happens when a wire loses its insulating cover. The damage can continue and the symptoms of this damage will get worse.
What causes it?
Here is a list of causes:
Alcoholism – Thiamine (B1) deficiency, in particular, is common among people with alcoholism because they often also have poor dietary habits. Thiamine deficiency can cause a painful neuropathy of the extremities. Some researchers believe that excessive alcohol consumption may, in itself, contribute directly to nerve damage, a condition referred to as alcoholic neuropathy.
Amyloidosis (metabolic disorder) an disorder where a protein called amyloid is deposited in tissues and organs. Amyloidosis can affect peripheral sensory, motor or autonomic nerves and deposition of amyloid lead to degeneration and dysfunction in these nerves.
Carpal tunnel syndrome – Carpus comes from the Greek word for wrist. The wrist is surrounded by a band of fibrous tissue that normally functions as a support for the joint. The tight space between this fibrous band and the wrist bone is called the carpal tunnel. The median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel to receive sensations from the thumb, index, and middle fingers of the hand. Any condition that causes swelling or a change in position of the tissue within the carpal tunnel can squeeze and irritate the median nerve. Irritation of the median nerve in this manner causes tingling and numbness of the thumb, index, and the middle fingers, a condition known as “carpal tunnel syndrome.” Thus, it can cause nerve damage.
Charcot Marie – Tooth disease – See Inherited neuropathy
Chemotherapy Treatment – Chemotherapy drugs are poisons that attack fast growing cells (rapidly dividing cells). The theory behind using these toxins is that it will destroy the fast growing cancer cells before it does much damage to normal cells. Chemotherapy is hardest on the nervous system due to the fact that nerve cells are more sensitive than other cells.
Chronic kidney failure – Chronic kidney or renal failure (uremia) occurs when the kidneys gradually fail to function properly. When the kidneys are impaired, fluids and waste products accumulate in the body. In some cases, kidney failure can cause peripheral neuropathy. Many conditions can cause kidney failure; the most common are diabetes and high blood pressure.
Compression neuropathy – pressure on an area. It is an inability to transmit nerve impulses because compression has damaged nerve fibers either directly, or indirectly by restricting their supply of oxygen. Compression can come from herniated discs in the spine, osteoarthritis can cause bone spurs that can compress a nerve, severe muscle injuries can compress nerves, and even prolonged use of tight clothing such as shoes. It all depends on the nerve compressed.
Connective tissue disease (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sarcoidosis) – Connective tissue disorders and chronic inflammation can cause direct and indirect nerve damage. When the multiple layers of protective tissue surrounding nerves become inflamed, the inflammation can spread directly into nerve fibers. Chronic inflammation also leads to the progressive destruction of connective tissue, making nerve fibers more vulnerable to compression injuries and infections. Joints can become inflamed and swollen and entrap nerves, causing pain.
Diabetes mellitus – the higher than normal sugar levels create nerve damage. Chronic neuropathy can start when the nerves are deprived of oxygen or anoxia.
Diphtheria – See Bacterial Diseases
Drugs – Certain anticancer drugs, anticonvulsants, antiviral agents, and antibiotics have side effects that can include peripheral nerve damage, thus limiting their long-term use. Metformin is a drug associated with B12 deficiency and thus nerve damage. To check on any medications and if they cause nerve damage, go to drugs.com or rxlist.com Note: neuropathy can be defined as nerve pain, parenthesia, tingling and numbness..etc.
Epstein-Barr virus – See Infections
Foods that are toxic – Some foods and food additives have a direct toxic effect on the gastrointestinal tract. Food allergies and intolerance can create nerve pain – neuropathy. MSG is known to cause nerve damage.
Herniated disc – most compressed nerves will cause inflammation but will get better. This is more likely to cause problems when the nerve is squashed between the disc and an adjacent bone.
Herpes – see Infections
HIV/AIDS – The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS, also causes extensive damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems. The virus can cause several different forms of neuropathy, each strongly associated with a specific stage of active immunodeficiency disease. A rapidly progressive, painful polyneuropathy affecting the feet and hands is often the first clinically apparent sign of HIV infection.
Hormonal imbalances – can disturb normal metabolic processes and cause neuropathies. For example, an underproduction of thyroid hormones slows metabolism, leading to fluid retention and swollen tissues that can exert pressure on peripheral nerves. Overproduction of growth hormone can lead to acromegaly, a condition characterized by the abnormal enlargement of many parts of the skeleton, including the joints. Nerves running through these affected joints often become entrapped.
Idiopathic – when doctors cannot find a specific cause
Immune System – See Inflammation
Inflammation – Chronic inflammation also leads to the progressive destruction of connective tissue, making nerve fibers more vulnerable to compression injuries and infections. Joints can become inflamed and swollen and entrap nerves, causing pain.
Some neuropathies are caused by inflammation resulting from immune system activities rather than from direct damage by infectious organisms. Inflammatory neuropathies can develop quickly or slowly, and chronic forms can exhibit a pattern of alternating remission and relapse. Acute inflammatory demyelinating neuropathy, better known as Guillain-Barré syndrome, can damage motor, sensory, and autonomic nerve fibers. Most people recover from this syndrome although severe cases can be life threatening. Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), generally less dangerous, usually damages sensory and motor nerves, leaving autonomic nerves intact. Multifocal motor neuropathy is a form of inflammatory neuropathy that affects motor nerves exclusively; it may be chronic or acute.
And many more diseases!