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Neuropathy: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment by Dulles Neurology Specialists

Neuropathy affects more than 20 million Americans, but studies suggest that the actual number is higher than that. Unfortunately, a lot of people fail to recognize the symptoms of neuropathy and neglect to consult a Dulles neurology specialist about proper treatment and management.

In the beginning, symptoms of neuropathy can include gradual tingling and prickling in the hands or feet, combined with the gradual onset of numbness. You might also feel burning, sharp, throbbing, or freezing pain. Since early-stage neuropathy mimics the common feeling of arms and legs “falling asleep,” many people do not pay much attention.

As you will learn in this article, however, neuropathy is not a simple matter. In some cases, neuropathy can lead to serious or life-threatening complications. A neurologist in Leesburg, VA will be able to diagnose neuropathy and recommend treatment, but for that to happen, you need to learn how to spot red flags.

What is neuropathy?

Neuropathy or nerve damage commonly affects the peripheral nervous system, causing pain, numbness, and weakness to the hands and feet.

It can be classified according to the location of the affected nerves or based on the disease or injury that’s causing it. There are four major classifications:

  • Peripheral neuropathy: involves damage to the nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord
  • Cranial neuropathy: occurs when there’s damage to any of the 12 cranial nerves that directly exit the brain
  • Autonomic neuropathy: refers to damage to the nerves that control circulation, digestion, blander, function, heart, and other parts of the involuntary nervous system
  • Focal neuropathy: restricted to one area of the body, a nerve, or a group of nerves

Due to its complex range of symptoms, neuropathy is often misdiagnosed. It requires a highly-trained neurologist in Leesburg to identify the type and cause of neuropathy correctly.

 

Causes of Neuropathy

Neuropathy can be caused by many factors such as injuries, infections, diseases, vitamin deficiency, or one or more of these conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Genetic or inherited neuropathy
  • Toxins and poisons
  • Trauma or injury
  • Drugs or medication
  • Tumors
  • Cancer
  • Uremia/kidney failure
  • Post-herpetic neuralgia
  • Alcoholic neuropathy
  • Idiopathic neuropathy, or neuropathy which doesn’t have an established cause

Symptoms of Neuropathy

Regardless of the cause, there are common symptoms characteristic of neuropathy. It can manifest through:

  • Gradual onset of numbness
  • Tingling or prickling in extremities, spreading upward
  • Freezing, jabbing, sharp, burning, or throbbing pain
  • Extreme sensitivity when touched
  • Falling and lack of coordination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Paralysis
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Digestive, bladder, or bowel problems
  • Altered sweating
  • Heat intolerance

When should you seek treatment?

From the first instance you observe troubling or unusual symptoms of neuropathy, it is imperative that you seek expert diagnosis immediately. Contact Neurology Associates as soon as you can so that our specialist, Dr. Sarbjot Dulai, can run tests, exams, and a comprehensive neurological examination to arrive at a diagnosis.

Neuropathy may be a serious condition, but you don’t have to suffer from it. Once you’re diagnosed with neuropathy, Dr. Dulai can prescribe medications and other forms of treatment to bring you relief.

The key is to catch it early to prevent more damage. If you’re concerned that you or a loved one is suffering from neuropathy, don’t hesitate to consult Neurology Associates as soon as you can.

 

How Neurologists in Leesburg Can Help You With Migraines

Experiencing migraines? It might be time for you to consult with a neurologist in Leesburg!

Migraines are one of the most disabling diseases, affecting more than 38 million people in the United States. It is characterized by severe, painful, throbbing, and recurring headaches, usually on just one side of the head, accompanied by varying symptoms. It can last for hours to days. (more…)

Neurologist in Leesburg and Dulles Discusses Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects the body’s central nervous system including the brain and the spinal cord. It is one of the most prevalent neurological disorders around the world, typically acquired by young adults. To date, there are over 400,000 cases of MS across the United States, with 200 new cases added weekly, and about 2.5 million cases across the world. Our neurologist in Leesburg tackles the essential things you need to know about the disorder and how he can help you manage your situation. (more…)

How the Best Neurologist in Leesburg, VA can Help You Engage More with Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease

Trying to communicate with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease is hard, both for the patient and the caregiver. Communicating progressively worsens as the patient’s condition advances. Care should be given in talking with these types of patients and strategies must be adopted according to the degree in the decline of the patient’s health.

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Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or ALS: How a Neurologist Can Help

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is one of the severest diseases that a person can contract. It attacks cells in the brain and spine that enable voluntary muscle movement, leading to muscle deterioration, paralysis, and the patient’s inability to speak, move, and eat. Ultimately, most people with ALS die due to respiratory failure – their inability to breathe. There is still no known cure. (more…)

A Neurologist Offers Life-Saving Advice on Detecting Early Warning Signs of Stroke

The National Stroke Association defines stroke as a condition wherein blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. The brain’s cells are then deprived of oxygen, causing them to die off. As a result, it can cause speech impediment, impaired memory and loss of movement in a patient. In worst cases, a stroke can even be fatal.

However, as a neurologist may tell you, up to 80 percent of strokes can be successfully prevented. All it takes is being aware of the warning signs of stroke and quick action to save a life or even yours.

Learning the Most Common Symptoms of Stroke Might Really Come in

FAST Response

The American Heart Association recommends learning what the acronym FAST stands for in the event of a stroke.

Face Drooping

People who are suffering from a stroke may appear to have a drooping face. One side may look uneven or lopsided. This is also normally accompanied by a sensation of numbness, especially on the affected side.

Arm Weakness

Weakness or numbness in one arm is a serious sign of stroke. If you or someone else has difficulty in raising both arms or if one arm is drifting downward, take immediate action.

Slurred Speech

Pay attention to slurring, especially when one is not under the influence of alcohol or other substances. Ask the person to repeat a short, simple sentence and see if they can correctly and clearly say the words.

Time to Call 911

Someone showing one or all these signs need prompt medical attention. Even if the symptoms do go away after a while, get yourself or another person you suspect of experiencing a stroke to the nearest hospital.

Other Symptoms of Stroke

The abovementioned signs of stroke are the ones commonly reported by most patients. However, not all episodes will be the same for everybody. Other people may notice different symptoms. For instance, men and women may experience dissimilar manifestations of stroke or a patient may be suffering from a different type of stroke. Therefore, it is best to be familiar with the lesser known signs. Be on the lookout for paralysis, numbness, pins and needles sensation, loss of balance, blurred vision, involuntary eye movements, dizziness, severe headache, confusion, loss of feeling on parts of the body, difficulty swallowing, and muscle stiffness.

Knowing the early symptoms of stroke may help minimize its long-term effects. As with any medical condition, however, prevention is still the best course of action. If your risk for stroke is particularly high, it pays to be safe by visiting a neurologist from trusted institutions in Leesburg, VA such as Neurology Associates.

Sources:

Understand Stroke, Stroke.org

Tips to Detect Early Warning Signs of Stroke, MedicineNet.com