The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) currently estimates that nearly 20 million Americans suffer from peripheral neuropathy, which causes miscommunication between your peripheral nerves and brain due to damage or dysfunction in the nerves connecting them. NINDS, however, suspects that more people suffer from peripheral neuropathy than estimated because many people don’t realize their symptoms are linked to this condition.
Could you be one of those undiagnosed with peripheral neuropathy? Our board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, Dr. David Berkower, at Berkower Pain & Spine Rehabilitation in Pembroke Pines, Florida, wants to share some of the most common risk factors for the condition so you can be informed.
Peripheral neuropathy explained
Your nervous system includes the central nervous system (CNS) — brain and spinal cord — and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). Your PNS includes the peripheral nerves that connect all your other body parts — arms, legs, and internal organs — to your CNS. These nerves act like a communication system, providing sensory information from these other parts and systems, as well as directing movement and function.
Peripheral neuropathy occurs when damage or nerve dysfunction alters communication between your PNS and CNS, causing symptoms such as:
- Numbness or tingling, especially in the feet
- Increased sensitivity to touch
- Poor balance or coordination
- Loss of reflexes
- Sharp cramps or pain
Peripheral neuropathy can be dangerous, and the symptoms can develop rapidly. You might not know anything is wrong until you try to stand up and realize you can’t feel your feet.
Are you at risk of peripheral neuropathy?
Nerve damage or dysfunction that leads to peripheral neuropathy can develop from many causes, including an injury or an underlying health condition that interferes with blood flow. You may be at risk of developing peripheral neuropathy if you:
- Use tobacco products
- Have a history of high cholesterol
- Are overweight or obese
- Engage in heavy alcohol use
- Suffer from nutritional deficiencies
- Have been exposed to heavy metals
- Have an autoimmune disorder
However, the biggest risk factor for the development of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 60-70% of people with diabetes develop peripheral neuropathy. HIV and chemotherapy treatment for cancer are also major risk factors for the condition.
Treatment for peripheral neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy can affect your quality of life. However, when diagnosed and treated early, you may be able to prevent worsening of your symptoms. We take a personalized approach to treatment, focusing on the underlying cause(s) of neuropathy, the types of nerves damaged, and your specific symptoms.
Treatment for peripheral neuropathy may include:
- Healthy diet
- Weight management
- Therapy exercises
- Smoking cessation
- Exercises to reduce repetitive movements
We also offer interventional pain management treatments, including a number of injections, to address specific nerve conditions and symptoms.
Don’t ignore symptoms like numbness and tingling, especially if they occur often. We offer comprehensive evaluations focused on finding the root cause of your peripheral neuropathy so you get the most effective treatment and the best quality of life. We’re also proud to offer CBD products for holistic pain relief, anxiety reduction, and a stronger immune system.
Contact us by calling the office at 954-430-9972 or by using the online booking tool.