Neuropathy: Nerve Damage
Neuropathy is a general term that refers to diseases or malfunctions of the nerves. Any nerves at any location in the body can be damaged from injury or disease.
Nerve damage may be caused by a number of different diseases, injuries, infections, and even vitamin deficiency states.
- Diabetes is the condition most commonly associated with neuropathy. Neuropathy is generally more severe in those who have had difficulty controlling their diabetes, or those who are overweight or have elevated blood lipids and high blood pressure.
- Deficiencies of the vitamins B12 and folate as well as other B vitamins can cause damage to the nerves.
- Some infections, including HIV/AIDS, Lyme disease, leprosy, and syphilis, can damage nerves.
- Alcoholism is often associated with peripheral neuropathy.
- Certain drugs and medications can cause nerve damage. Examples include cancer therapy drugs such as vincristine (Oncovin, Vincasar), and antibiotics such as metronidazole (Flagyl), and isoniazid (Nydrazid, Laniazid).
- Trauma or injury to nerves, including prolonged pressure on a nerve or group of nerves, is a common cause of neuropathy. Decreased blood flow (ischemia) to the nerves can also lead to long-term damage.