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LTD AttorneysPeripheral nerves carry information to and from the brain, spinal cord and virtually every other part of the body. When a person has peripheral neuropathy it means that those nerves don’t work properly – this type of damage interferes with vital connections, and distorts and interrupts messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

When the damage affects only one nerve the neuropathy is called mononeuropathies. More commonly multiple nerves are affected. This is called polyneuropathy. Less often, two or more isolated nerves in separate areas of the body are affected. This is called mono neuritis multiplex.

Because every peripheral nerve has a highly specialized function in specific parts of the body, there are more than 100 different types of peripheral neuropathy that have been identified. With this wide array of classifications come all types of symptoms. Common symptoms include temporary numbness and tingling, prickling sensations, twitching, sensitivity to touch and muscle weakness. More debilitating symptoms are burning pains, muscle wasting, paralysis and organ and gland dysfunction.

Symptoms usually cause people to feel much less sensation than they would if nerve damage was not present, however in some cases people with peripheral neuropathy feel pain from stimuli that are normally painless. Gastrointestinal symptoms can also be linked to nerve damage. Nerves that control intestinal muscle contractions sometimes malfunction and often lead to diarrhea, constipation and incontinence.

Peripheral neuropathy can be inherited or acquired. Acquired peripheral neuropathies are caused either by systemic disease, trauma from external agents, or infections or autoimmune disorders. The most common cause of nerve damage, including peripheral neuropathy, is diabetes. Other causes are autoimmune disorders, chronic kidney disease, infections such as HIV and liver infections, low levels of vitamin B12 or other dietary issues, poor blood flow to the legs, under active thyroid gland and excessive drug and alcohol use.

Diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy can be difficult because it has so many varying symptoms and can present itself in a number of ways. To diagnose, a doctor will take a detailed history of you and your family, perform a physical exam, do blood tests, check muscular activity, measure the speed at which signals travel along nerves and might even sample a nerve under a microscope.

There are things that patients can do to prevent or treat their own nerve damage. For example, restricting alcohol use, replacing vitamins and controlling blood sugar can prevent damage and assist in its healing. Self-awareness is also crucial. Because many peripheral neuropathy patients do not feel pain the way they should, they do not take the proper precautions in their everyday life. Doing simple day-to-day tasks like wearing closed toe shoes and testing the temperature of things before grabbing them can make daily life more manageable.

No medical treatments currently exist to cure peripheral neuropathy, however there are recommended therapies that patients can participate in. Medicines can reduce pain although they will not return a loss of feeling. Physical therapy specialists can help train your body to recover, and physical exercise and exertion is helpful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Long term disability attorneys Burke, Harvey & Frankowski, LLC understand the importance of obtaining disability benefits for peripheral neuropathy and work diligently to aid you in collecting the required documentation and eveidence supporting your disability insurance claim and appeal. Call your healthcare provider if you think you may have any form of nerve damage. Early detection and treatment can decrease the presence of symptoms, and can ease the often difficult process of applying for LTD benefits.

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