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Health Condition

Neuropathy

About This Condition

If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you are at increased risk for developing nerve damage, or neuropathy. Some types of diabetic neuropathy can cause chronic pain and others can lead to foot ulcers that may ultimately require amputation. Managing your diabetes, especially if you have type 1 diabetes, can help to prevent neuropathy, and early diagnosis and intervention may slow its progression.1

Certain chemotherapy medications used to treat cancer commonly cause temporary or permanent neuropathy. You can work with your doctor to take steps to reduce the risk of developing chemotherapy-related neuropathy or to manage the condition if you already have it.2

The symptoms of neuropathy are varied and depend upon the nerves involved and the type of nerve damage. For most people with diabetes, neuropathy involves the peripheral nerves and causes symptoms such as tingling, pain, loss of sensations, or weakness in the feet, spreading to the legs and eventually the fingers and arms.1 Peripheral neuropathy is the most common type of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, and often causes pain severe enough to limit cancer treatment.2 Because it is the most common form of neuropathy, this article addresses only peripheral neuropathy.

Symptoms

Neuropathy can have many symptoms. The symptoms experienced will depend upon which nerves are affected, or damaged. Symptoms may include tingling, pain, numbness, or weakness in the feet, legs, and hands; delayed stomach emptying (gastroparesis), diarrhea, or constipation; bladder paralysis and urine retention; erectile dysfunction in men and vaginal dryness or lack of arousal in women; fainting, dizziness, or rapid heart rate; blurry vision, or difficulty with vision, such as the eyes not adjusting well to changing light conditions. For people receiving chemotherapy medications, the most common neuropathy symptoms include tingling, pain, numbness, or weakness in the feet, legs, and hands.3,4

References

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4. Peripheral Neuropathy Fact Sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke [cited 2013 Nov 17]. Available from URL: www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/detail_peripheralneuropathy.htm.

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39. Wang J, Udd K, Vidisheva A, et al. Low serum vitamin D occurs commonly among multiple myeloma patients treated with bortezomib and/or thalidomide and is associated with severe neuropathy. Support Care Cancer 2016;24:3105–10.

40. Papazafeiropoulou A, Xourgia E, Papantoniou S, et al. Effect of 3-month alpha-lipoic acid treatment on sural nerve conduction velocity and amplitude in patients with diabetic neuropathy: a pilot study. Arch Med Sci Atheroscler Dis 2019;4:e141–3.

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59. Duran A, Salto L, Camara J, et al. Effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty-acid supplementation on neuropathic pain symptoms and sphingosine levels in Mexican Americans with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes 2019;12:109–20.

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The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.

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