Risk Factors of Peripheral Neuropathy

The causes of peripheral neuritis include:

  • Diabetes: This is the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy with almost 50% of all diabetics developing some form of the condition.
  • Alcoholism: Many alcoholics develop peripheral neuropathy mainly due to vitamin deficiencies arising from poor dietary choices.
  • Infections: Some viral and bacterial infections may cause peripheral neuropathy. These include shingles, hepatitis C, Lyme disease and HIV/AIDS.
  • Autoimmune Disease: Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Guillain-Barre syndrome are some of the autoimmune diseases that may cause peripheral neuropathy.
  • Exposure to Toxins: Toxic substances like heavy metals and certain medications like the drugs used in chemotherapy may cause peripheral neuropathy.
  • Vitamin Deficiencies: Vitamins B1, B6, B12, E and niacin are essential to maintaining nerve health. Any of these vitamin deficiencies can lead to peripheral neuropathy.
  • Inherited Diseases: Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and amyloid polyneuropathy are two such examples.
  • Tumors: Both benign and malignant tumors may cause peripheral neuropathy.
  • Trauma to the Nerves: Traumas as caused by sports injuries or motor vehicle accidents can damage peripheral nerves resulting in peripheral neuropathy.
  • Pressure on Nerves: This can happen due to many reasons such as using crutches or typing. Tumors may also exert pressure on nerves resulting in peripheral neuropathy.
  • Other Disease: Liver disease, kidney disease and hypothyroidism can also cause peripheral neuropathy.

The following persons are at increased risk of developing peripheral neuropathy:

  • Diabetics, especially those with uncontrolled blood sugar levels
  • Alcoholics
  • Persons suffering from malnutrition
  • Those suffering from infections like HIV/AIDS
  • Persons with autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy
  • Persons with liver, kidney or thyroid disorders

Frequently asked questions
  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001619/
  2. * Pieber K, Herceg M, Paternostro-Sluga T (April 2010). "Electrotherapy for the treatment of painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy: a review". J Rehabil Med 42 (4): 289–95
  3. ** Acupuncture for the treatment of chronic painful peripheral diabetic neuropathy: a long-term study B.B Abuaisha, J.B Costanzi, A.J.M Boulton