Peripheral neuropathy is when there is damage to the peripheral nerves, or to the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord that send sensory information to your central nervous system. Patients with this nerve damage tend to experience numbness, weakness, and pain in the extremities. While the hands and feet are the most commonly affected, other parts of the body can experience these symptoms as well. Though there are many factors that can contribute to peripheral neuropathy, it is often the result of an inherited condition, traumatic injury, metabolic problems, infection, or exposure to toxins.
Peripheral neuropathy risk factors include autoimmune diseases, diabetes, infections (notably lyme disease, shingles, hepatitis B and C, HIV, and Epstein-Barr virus), alcohol abuse, vitamin deficiency, a family history of neuropathy, exposure to harmful toxins, repetitive motion, and disorders of the kidney, liver or thyroid.
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