Polyneuropathy is the general degeneration of nerves. It usually begins with nerves in the peripheral extremities such as hands and feet, and then progressively spreads inward to damage nerves in the center of the body. The condition normally develops gradually (chronic), but sometimes spreads rapidly (acute).

There are many causes of polyneuropathy, such as:

  • Infections from toxins produced by bacteria
  • Cancer
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Drugs
  • Exposure to environmental toxins such as chemicals, heavy metals, or pesticides
  • Diabetes
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Dietary malnourishment
  • Genetics

The symptoms of acute polyneuropathy show up sooner than those of chronic polyneuropathy, but the symptoms for both are very similar:

  • Painful tingling “pins-and-needles” sensation in the hands and/or feet
  • Weakness
  • Unsteadiness when walking or standing

As the nerve damage developes deeper into the body, it can affect blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, salivation, bowel movements or urination, and sexual dysfunction.

The sooner a patient with these symptoms can be examined and diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin. At the first sign of these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, contact Dr. Deborah Cantrell, at Elite Neuroscience Center, for an appointment. 

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