What is Vascular Neuropathy?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2019
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Nerve disorders affecting the vascular system are known as vascular neuropathy. Commonly found in diabetic patients, the symptoms of this unique type of neuropathy can create serious problems, particularly in the hands and feet. Treatments for this type of neuropathy include pain reduction medications, physical therapy and treatment for any underlying conditions causing neuropathy.

Vascular neuropathy interrupts the basic functioning of the blood’s vessels and prevents them from constricting and expanding as needed to regulate blood pressure. Some of the causes of this unique vascular disease include a vitamin B and B12 deficiency, Raynaud’s disease and diabetes. Other causes may include other types of neuropathy or spinal cord degeneration.

General neuropathy symptoms often include paresthesia in the legs, feet, toes, arms, hands and fingers. Other symptoms such as urinary problems, fatigue, weakness, muscle atrophy, gastrointestinal disturbances, vaginal dryness and erectile dysfunction are also commonly reported. More specific symptoms of vascular neuropathy may include low blood pressure, a faint feeling upon standing, a rapid or slow heart rate and the development of ulcers on the feet.


Individuals with this type of neuropathy also experience poor wound healing. It is not uncommon for a minor cut or abrasion to fester and become infected due to the body’s inability to heal the wound within a normal time frame. Depending on the severity of this and other nerve disorders, a person is likely to experience other, unrelated symptoms, as well. In particular, the symptoms of vascular neuropathy may lead to symptoms indirectly related to vascular disease, such as a lack of sleep due to sensations caused by poor blood circulation which further lead to irritability and depression.

Besides vascular neuropathy, other types of neuropathy also exist. These include peripheral neuropathy, which also affects the legs, feet, toes, arms, hands and fingers; focal neuropathy, which can affect a single nerve anywhere in the body; and proximal neuropathy, which affects the buttocks, hips and legs. Each of these is also caused by an underlying illness.

Treatments for this type of neuropathy first begin with a patient relating suspicious symptoms to her or his doctor, which will lead to a nerve biopsy used to confirm the condition. Doctors will also examine the feet for signs of ulcers, as well as check the heart rate and the patient’s blood pressure for signs of vascular abnormalities. If nerve damage is suspected, doctors will then seek to treat a patient with pain medications, as well as attempt to reverse or manage the condition causing this particular type of vascular disease. Early detection of nerve disorders is, therefore, crucial in controlling nerve damage and reversing it when possible.


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