Can You Have Neuropathy and Not Have Diabetes?

The many causes of neuropathy and how we can resolve your pain.

The symptoms associated with neuropathy are a signal that your peripheral nerves are malfunctioning. Persistently high blood sugar linked to poorly controlled diabetes is certainly a common cause of neuropathy. But many other conditions can cause or worsen peripheral nerve damage.

Dr. Habib Khan is a board-certified neurologist who leads an impressive team of medical professionals at his busy practice, the Arizona Institute of Neurology & Polysomnography in Casa Grande, Arizona. One of Dr. Khan’s well-known specialties is correctly diagnosing and designing treatment plans for the many underlying causes and symptoms of neuropathy.

Neuropathy defined

Strictly speaking, neuropathy is a dysfunction of one or more of your peripheral nerves. The peripheral nerves are those that occur outside of the central nervous system (your brain and spinal cord). The peripheral nerves’ job is to transmit signals back and forth to your brain through nerves in the spine.

Peripheral nerves include:

Neuropathy is a symptom, not a disease

Many diseases can lead to neuropathy. But unlike neuromuscular disorders, such as muscular dystrophy and other nerve-related conditions, neuropathy itself is not a disease. Instead, like an elevated temperature and runny nose that may indicate a virus, it’s a signal that your nerves are being damaged by one or more underlying issues.

The symptoms of neuropathy

Neuropathy may be experienced in just one peripheral nerve (mononeuropathy), several nerves (polyneuropathy), or essentially all the peripheral nerves.

Depending on the nerve group(s) involved (sensory, motor, or autonomic), you may experience:

Diabetes isn’t the only cause of neuropathy

Peripheral nerves can be affected by a wide variety of conditions besides diabetes, which may include:

Alcoholism and other substance abuse problems can also result in irreversible peripheral nerve damage. Your peripheral nerves may sustain damage from an injury, prolonged exposure to cold, and immobility or treatments such as casting for fractures.

Activities related to work or hobbies, such as painting or frequent use of vibrating saws, cutters, and other equipment, can also cause peripheral neuropathy. Carpal tunnel syndrome, for instance, is often related to such activities and includes the aching, burning, tingling discomfort of peripheral neuropathy.

Seek treatment for neuropathy early

There are many therapies available that can control the effects of neuropathy. At Arizona Institute of Neurology & Polysomnography, our treatment goals include identifying the underlying cause of your neuropathy, relieving your symptoms, and preventing future nerve damage. If you suspect peripheral neuropathy, don’t wait to seek medical care, because early treatment often offers the best results.

Call our office to make an appointment with Dr. Khan or click the “book online” button to schedule your visit.


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