Understanding Peripheral Neuropathy — Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

What Are the Treatments for Peripheral Neuropathy?

Effective prognosis and treatment of peripheral neuropathy relies heavily on the cause of the nerve damage. For example, a peripheral neuropathy caused by a vitamin deficiency can be treated — even reversed — with vitamin therapy and an improved diet. Likewise, nerve damage brought on by alcohol abuse can often be stopped and improved by avoiding alcohol. Peripheral neuropathy caused by toxic substances or medications can often be corrected in much the same way. When neuropathy is related to diabetes, careful monitoring of blood sugar levels may slow its progression and curb symptoms.

Early diagnosis and treatment of peripheral neuropathy is important, because the peripheral nerves have a limited capacity to regenerate, and treatment may only stop the progression — not reverse damage. If you have become severely impaired, you may need physical therapy to help retain strength and avoid muscle cramping and spasms.

Surgical treatment may be recommended for people with nerve damage from injury or nerve compression. Mobility aids, such as a cane, walker, or wheelchair, may be helpful. For pain, your doctor may prescribe pain medication.

How Can Peripheral Neuropathy Be Prevented?

Some forms of peripheral neuropathy can be averted by maintaining sound health habits. Eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and abstaining from excessive alcohol consumption can all help prevent nerve damage. Avoiding injuries and toxic chemicals and carefully managing underlying disorders, such as diabetes, can also help prevent peripheral neuropathy.

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