What is Non-Diabetic Neuropathy?

T. Broderick

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 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.

Most diabetic patients need to receive daily insulin injections to control their blood glucose levels.
Most diabetic patients need to receive daily insulin injections to control their blood glucose levels.

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.

Alcoholism often deprives the body of essential nutrients.
Alcoholism often deprives the body of essential nutrients.

A number of causes are responsible for this condition. 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.

Alcoholism is a common cause of peripheral neuropathy.
Alcoholism is a common cause of peripheral neuropathy.

When an individual presents with this condition, 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.

In some instances, physical trauma can cause neuropathy.
In some instances, physical trauma can cause neuropathy.

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 neuropathy, it is essential to seek medical treatment as soon as possible after experiencing symptoms.

Wounds may not heal completely and could develop into chronic ulcers in people with non-diabetic neuropathy.
Wounds may not heal completely and could develop into chronic ulcers in people with non-diabetic neuropathy.
Neuropathy can occur almost immediately through a bruised or severed nerve.
Neuropathy can occur almost immediately through a bruised or severed nerve.
Individuals suffering from non-diabetic neuropathy may lose sensation in the feet.
Individuals suffering from non-diabetic neuropathy may lose sensation in the feet.

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Discussion Comments

anon1003302

I am not diabetic, but have had a burning, stinging sensation from my ankles to above my hips for over year now. No one can figure it out. Anybody else experience this?

anon1000288

I have been on neurotic for years along with prozac. It helped somewhat. Two weeks ago I was in a car accident. Since then it has been much worse. I am now up to 2700 mgs of neurotic a day and still no relief. I've tried creams and ice heat. Too much standing and walking makes it worse.

anon998079

I have been taking a high dose of b-12 and it seemed to dull the burning. It has also given me more energy to walk more. And that seems to help with balance and strength in my legs. It started in my toe 20 years ago. Now it's in my lower back and one finger has turned under. Ihave tried several meds in the past years (antidepressants ) which helped the pain but caused more eye damage and raised my cholesterol. So far, B-12 has been the safest. Been on a couple of months still burn but better. Praying it is the answer.

anon993486

I developed neuropathy from edema in my foot and lower leg and the wrapping treatment used to treat it. It affects my sleep the most. My doctor prescribed nortriptyline, in a very small dose, and it really hasn't provided much relief. I've heard neurontin is effective. Has anyone else been treated with it?

candyquilt

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

@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

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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