Polyneuropathy is a condition in which peripheral nerves are damaged and they are not able to send signal to the particular organs-skin, muscles.
  • Peripheral nerves are the group of nerves that carry sensation from the periphery of the body to the central system brain and from their, after processing motor impulses are carried to the receptor organs.
  • Both the motor and sensory nerves are affected in polyneuropathy. These are nerves that present outside the brain and the spinal cord.
  • Polyneuropathy affects all the peripheral nerves at the same time.
  • It may also affects the autonomic nervous system that controls the digestion, bladder and bowel  control, blood pressure, and heart and respiratory rate.

Types of Polyneuropathy

  1.  Acute polyneuropathy
  2.  Chronic polyneuropathy
  3.  Multiple Polyneuropathy
Acute Polyneuropathy- This is the rare and most common cause is the GB syndrome and can be fatal.

Chronic Polyneuropathy- Most of the polyneuropathy are chronic in condition develops over many  years  and months. 

Multiple Polyneuropathy- This is the most fatal and develops in more than one region.

Causes of Polyneuropathy

There are various conditions that develops different types of polyneuropathy.
  • Diabetes- This is the most common causes of polyneuropathy when the blood sugar level increases in the blood above than the normal.
  • Alcohol abuse- Alcohol is also the second major causes of polyneuropathy which leads to the nutritional deficiencies that leads to polyneuropathy.
  • Bacteria and Viral infection- Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, shingles can also causes the severe polyneuropathy.
  • Bone marrow disorders- In case of cancer of bone, or abnormal level of proteins in the blood.
  • Autoimmune disorders- Autoimmune disorders includes the GB syndrome, Arthritis, celiac diseases.
  • Kidney and Liver diseases- cirrhosis of the liver and uremic polyneuropathy can also causes the severe damage to the peripheral nerves.
  • Poor nutrition- Deficiencies of Vitamin B-1, B-12, and Vitamin E leads to polyneuropathy.
  • Trauma- any kind of physical trauma, road traffic accident, repetitive trauma, can damages the peripheral nerves.

Symptoms of Polyneuropathy

Polyneuropathy can produce a variety of symptoms depending upon the types of nerve affected.
  • Numbness 
  • Tingling sensations
  • Difficulty in movements of the arms and legs, increased pain in the back, stabbing pain.
  • Sleep problems in night
  • Inability to feel temperature, cold, burn
  • Lack of coordination and balancing
  • Muscles weakness
  • Foot and ankle ulcer in diabetes
  • Skin and nails infection
  • Hair loss and brittle
  • Autonomic symptoms includes -abnormal blood pressure, loss of control on bladder and bowel, abdominal cramps and pain, respiratory problems.                                                                                                   

Diagnosis of Polyneuropathy

Diagnosis of the polyneuropathy depends upon the types of nerve involved and the symptoms coming in the body, physical examination, and neurological evaluation.

History includes the personal, family and past history.
Vitals to be checked- blood pressure, temperature, respiratory rate.
Blood test for any kind of autoimmune disorder- thyroid, diabetes, arthritis, nutrient deficiencies.
MRI or CT scan- any abnormalities in the spinal cord or brain which may leads to damage of the peripheral nerves.
Electromyography- for the functions of the muscles.
Nerve conduction velocity- for the functioning of the nerves.

Treatment of Polyneuropathy

Medications-treatment is based on the symptoms produced in the body.
  • Painkillers
  • Anti-inflammatory 
  • Antidepressants
  • Physical therapy 
  • Occupational therapy
  • Orthotic and supportive devices

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