There are over 100 Causes of Neuropathy.
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One-third of neuropathies are caused by diabetes:
- Over 50% of individuals with diabetes will have mild to severe forms of neuropathy.
- Severity is related to how long nerves are exposed to hyperglycemia.
“Other” causes may include:
- Inherited disorders (Charcot-Marie Tooth)
- Toxins– alcohol, arsenic, heavy metals, Vitamin B-6, chemicals (including chemotherapy)
- Vitamin Deficiencies (B-12, D, Thiamine, E)
- Underactive thyroid gland
- Auto-Immune Disease/Inflammation: Guillain-Barré syndrome (an acute type)-or a chronic neuropathy-CIDP (Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy)
- Metabolic disease (kidney or liver)
- Infections – HIV, Leprosy, Syphilis, Lyme disease, shingles
- Trauma/ physical injury or pressure on nerves
Inherited neuropathies are caused by errors in the genetic code or by new genetic mutations. These errors can lead to mild symptoms or significant impairment. The more severe hereditary neuropathies often appear in childhood.
The most common inherited neuropathies are a group of disorders collectively referred to as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. These neuropathies result from flaws in the genes responsible for manufacturing neurons or the myelin sheaths that insulate their axons. Other inherited types include: HMSN types I and II (Hereditary Motor & Sensory Neuropathy), HMN (Hereditary Motor Neuropathy) and HSAN (Hereditary Sensory & Autonomic Neuropathy).
The final third of neuropathies are idiopathic.
This means that even with thorough testing, doctors are unable to determine the cause.
It can be very beneficial to determine the cause of your neuropathy because that can determine your treatment plan. Unfortunately, if you are diagnosed idiopathic, your option is to treat your symptoms since you are unable to address the cause.