Everyone at one time or another has felt the sensation of their arms or legs “falling asleep,” and it is not a comfortable feeling. Now imagine if that feeling increased gradually to a tingling, burning, or a sharp freezing pain? That is what it is like for some when experiencing neuropathy.
Currently more than 20 million people in the United States have been estimated to have some form of neuropathy. However, this number could be higher since early-stage neuropathy mimics common feelings of extremities “falling asleep.”
Neuropathy can lead to serious or life-threatening complications. For diagnosis and treatment visit Leesburg Virginia neurologist Dr. Sarbjot Dulai. His vast experience and knowledge will help make sense of your symptoms and find the right treatment for you.
Now let’s take a look at what neuropathy is, the symptoms, possible causes, as well as; how it could be affected by COVID-19.
What is neuropathy
Neuropathy, also known as peripheral neuropathy, refers to weakened or damaged nerves. The nerve damage leaves you with symptoms like numbness or tingling in your affected extremities. Sometimes it even causes complete loss of sensation and reflexes.
Your body is made up of complex systems including your central nervous system. The nervous system consists of your brain, your spine, and a network of nerves called peripheral nerves. These nerves then extend into the other areas of your body, carrying information between your brain and muscles thus controlling your movement. You can think of your peripheral nerves like cables that connect the different parts of a computer, and if those cables malfunction or are not sharing information correctly, the complex functions can grind to a halt. That is neuropathy.
Symptoms of neuropathy can range from mild to disabling. They usually develop over time, however, that can be anywhere from days, weeks, or years. Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Gradual onset of numbness, prickling or tingling in your feet or hands, which can spread upward into your legs and arms
- Sharp, jabbing, throbbing, or burning pain
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Pain during activities that shouldn’t cause pain, such as pain in your feet when putting a blanket on top of them
- Lack of coordination and falling
- Muscle weakness
- Feeling as if you’re wearing gloves or socks when you are not
- Heat intolerance
- Excessive sweating, or not being able to sweat
- Bowel, bladder, or digestive problems
- Changes in blood pressure that causes dizziness or lightheadedness.
Due to its wide range of symptoms, neuropathy is often misdiagnosed. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with a Leesburg neurologist right away.
Neuropathy can be caused by many factors such as injuries, certain diseases, or one of the following conditions:
- Toxins and poisons
- Trauma or injury
- Drugs or medications
- Tumors, whether malignant or benign
- Kidney failure
- Autoimmune diseases
- Liver disease
- Vitamin deficiencies.
COVID-19 and Neuropathy
While there is no direct link between neuropathy and COVID-19, there are certain circumstances that put you at risk for contracting the virus and experiencing worsened symptoms if you have already been diagnosed with neuropathy.
Be aware of your condition. Because your immune system is compromised, you are at a much higher risk of contracting the virus. This is why it is more important than ever to be aware of your symptoms and to continue following safety protocols such as social distancing, respiratory hygiene, and wearing a face covering in public settings.
If you do unfortunately become infected with COVID-19, the good news is you are not likely to experience any new damage to your cells, but you may have flare-ups of neuropathic symptoms. The symptoms of COVID-19 that are flu like may exacerbate the tingling and numbness that is associated with neuropathy. While this is uncomfortable, it is not reason to panic. You can seek help from Dulles neurologist Dr. Sarbjot Dulai, an experienced neurologist who can help with your treatment and relief of symptoms.
Seeking treatment with Neurology Associates
Neuropathy is a serious condition, but you do not have to suffer from it. Once you are diagnosed, there are treatment options that can bring you relief. So, if you or a loved one are experiencing any symptoms of neuropathy, make an appointment with Neurology Associate’s Dr. Dulai. Due to COVID-19 the office is now offering telemedicine appointments for online consultation and where necessary scheduling office visits as well. You can call Neurology Associates at (703) 726-6393 to schedule a consultation.