The nervous system in our body is mainly divided into central and peripheral nervous systems. The central nervous system comprises the spine, brain and the nerves while the peripheral nervous system comprises the network of nerves all over the body. Any disease in the peripheral system is indicated by dysfunction of sensors, paralysis and weakness. The causes for these disorders can be genetics, trauma, infection or autoimmune disorder.
Some of the peripheral nervous system diseases include:
Charcot-Marie Tooth Disorder (CMT): This is a genetic disorder. Survey and reports suggest that almost one in every 2,500 Americans gets affected by CMT. This is also referred to as hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy. Symptoms include deformity in the foot, foot drop, or highly arched foot. Weakness may hamper the muscle tone in the hands or lower portion of the legs. The degeneration of the peripheral nerves reduces sensitivity to heat, cold or pain. Treatment for this condition includes occupational and physical therapy and use of assistive devices.
Diabetic Neuropathy: This occurs as a result of the individual being diabetic. Almost fifty percent of the diabetics suffer from this disorder. The damage to the nerves is believed to be caused by decrease in the blood flow and increase in blood glucose level. The arms and legs get affected with symptoms like numbness, cramps, tingling sensation in the feet, weakness and loss of sensitivity to cold and heat. Some other symptoms which may also show up include changes in vision, drooping eyelids, mouth or face; loss of control of bladder and giddiness. Medications and constant monitoring in order to keep glucose levels under check can avert further damage to the nerves of the peripheral nervous system.
Guillain Barre Syndrome: This disorder is one of the most serious conditions of nerve damage. The immune system of such patients starts to attack itself which will lead to inflamed nerves. This inflammation will augment in the form of severe weakness in the leg and arm muscles. The muscles used in the process of breathing also get weakened. When the disease spreads, it gets manifested in the sensation of numbness and rather un-coordinated movements. An individual facing difficulty in swallowing or breathing should consult a doctor immediately. The treatment for this condition includes supportive care to overcome difficulty in breathing and physiotherapy. Other treatments include plasmapheresis in which the antibodies in the blood will be removed or immunoglobulins which will block the antibodies causing inflammation. The recovery time for patients suffering from this condition can vary from few weeks to years.
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LiveStrong: Disorders of the Peripheral Nervous System