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How Your Autoimmune Disease Contributes to Your Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy affects the normal functioning of nerves that exist outside your brain and spinal column. There are about 100 different types of peripheral neuropathy, many of which affect the sensory nerves. These are the nerves that help your brain identify certain sensations your skin feels, such as temperature, texture, and pain.

The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) estimates that about 20 million Americans have one or more forms of peripheral neuropathy. As a highly respected pain management specialist in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, John S. Michels, MD, is often called on to treat patients struggling with the debilitating effects of peripheral neuropathy.

Read what this talented, award-winning expert has to say about peripheral neuropathy and its relationship to autoimmune diseases.

What are autoimmune diseases and how do they affect nerves?

Autoimmune diseases occur when your immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy tissue in your body. Some of these diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, attack nerve tissue directly.

Others cause a cascading effect that damages nerves. Type 1 diabetes, for instance, destroys your pancreas’s ability to produce insulin. This makes it impossible for your body to process blood glucose (sugar) normally. Over time, high blood sugar damages nerves directly and injures the blood vessels that carry oxygen and other vital nutrients to your peripheral nerves.  

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include:

These symptoms commonly begin in the feet and hands and then spread upward into the arms or legs as the nerve damage progresses.

What autoimmune diseases contribute to peripheral neuropathy?

Autoimmune diseases commonly linked to peripheral neuropathy include:

Classified as a metabolic disorder rather than an autoimmune disease, Type 2 diabetes is the most common underlying cause of peripheral neuropathy.

How do you treat peripheral neuropathy?

We help our patients manage pain by first identifying the underlying cause of the pain and designing treatment strategies that target the issue as well as the symptoms.

In the case of peripheral neuropathy, for instance, we may encourage tighter control of diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, etc., via dietary changes, physical therapy, and other measures designed to effectively treat autoimmune disease.

For pain caused by damaged peripheral nerves, we may recommend:

Dr. Michels notes his overriding goal as a physician is to provide treatments that relieve your pain and enable you to live an active and rewarding life. If you’re struggling with pain and other symptoms related to peripheral neuropathy, schedule a visit with Dr. Michels today. Call our Dallas, Texas, office or request an appointment online.

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