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What Is Non-Diabetic Neuropathy?

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  • Written By: T. Broderick
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 22 April 2014
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Non-diabetic neuropathy is a general term for disorders of the peripheral nervous system not caused by diabetes. The distinction is necessary, as the symptoms closely mirror those of diabetic neuropathy. A variety of factors such as pre-existing disease or physical trauma can cause non-diabetic neuropathy. Treating the neuropathy depends on the specific cause and the progression of the neuropathy. Individuals with the condition need to be patient with recovery as nerve regeneration takes years if it occurs at all.

A distinction is made between diabetic and non-diabetic neuropathy due to the prevalence of the former and the similarity of symptoms. In both cases the feet and legs are a vulnerable area; an individual may lose sensation. The chances of abscesses and infection rise with increased nerve damage. Neuropathy in non-diabetics can occur in other parts of the body such as the arms and hands. Sensation and fine motor control diminish simultaneously.

A number of causes are responsible for non-diabetic neuropathy. For example, low levels of vitamin B reduce the nerves' ability to send electrical signals. Alcoholism has a similar effect of denying the body of essential nutrients. The most common cause, though, is trauma due to physical injury. Neuropathy can occur almost immediately through a bruised or severed nerve.

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When an individual presents with non-diabetic neuropathy, the goal of a doctor is to determine the root cause. Blood tests and/or a medical history are reliable diagnostic methods. In the case of a vitamin B deficiency, a supplement is all that is necessary to stop the progression of the neuropathy. A treatment center may be required for those whose neuropathy is caused by alcoholism. Some neuropathy caused by physical trauma requires surgery to reattach major nerves and correct other internal injuries.

Even if a doctor can cure or fix the cause of non-diabetic neuropathy, modern medicine cannot reverse the neuropathy that has all ready developed. Regenerating nerves is difficult for the body, and if it occurs at all, the process can take years. Some individuals whose nerves do regenerate report that the regained sensations are either dull, extremely sensitive or react differently to hot and cold. In regaining motor control, an individual may have lifetime difficulty with finer movements such as picking up small items. Considering the uncertain nature of recovery from non-diabetic neuropathy, it is essential to seek medical treatment as soon as possible after experiencing symptoms of neuropathy.

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candyquilt
Post 3

I have non-diabetic neuropathy due to nerve damage that was done during my knee replacement surgery. Is anyone else going through this right now?

discographer
Post 2

@literally45-- Circulation improving drugs are given like you mentioned, but vitamins are also commonly given. I've been given large doses of vitamin B-12, as well as l-glutamine to help the nerves recover. My peripheral neuropathy has been responding well to the B-12.

Oxygen therapy is also sometimes beneficial. Not getting enough oxygen has been shown to cause circulation problems in the hands and feet.

literally45
Post 1

What kind of medications are prescribed for non-diabetic neuropathy?

I have this type of neuropathy in my feet. I know that diabetic neuropathy is treated with circulation improving creams, socks, etc. And it requires regular check-ups to catch ulcers and other kinds of damage early. Is non-diabetic neuropathy in feet treated the same way?

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