Neuropathy

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Signs & Symptoms

The symptoms of neuropathy depend upon the nerves affected. Neuropathies often start in the longest nerve fibres, those in the feet and legs, and ascend progressively, to affect the hands and arms and other parts of the body. There may be numbness, tingling, and pain that can range from mild to extremely severe and debilitating. Symptoms may include:

  • Loss of reflexes, balance, and coordination
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Muscle weakness, cramping, paralysis, or twitching
  • Pain – burning, aching, sharp, jabbing, electric-like, shooting
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch, even with very light pressure (such as from a bed sheet)
  • Tingling, numbness, loss of ability to detect touch, pressure, temperature, and vibration

If autonomic nerves are affected, symptoms may include:

  • Blurred vision; slow pupil reaction, which affects night vision
  • Decreased or excessive sweating and heat intolerance
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Dizziness and fainting when standing due to low blood pressure
  • Erectile dysfunction in males; vaginal dryness in females
  • Heart rate that does not change appropriately with exercise
  • Incontinence and difficulty urinating and emptying the bladder
  • Lack of awareness of low blood glucose
  • Altered movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract, leading to constipation or diarrhoea, abdominal pressure and bloating, nausea, heartburn

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