Peripheral neuropathy (PN) is caused by damage to the nerve endings from some toxin.The most common cause of PN is diabetes followed by alcohol. After these two, there are dozens of other potential causes that need to be evaluated with additional testing.
The symptoms of PN include numbness and tingling. This can often be painful and irritating. Typically, the symptoms start in your feet and progress up your leg. They can also occur in your fingers and hands.
PN is usually diagnosed with a nerve test called an EMG. The EMG includes nerve conduction studies (NCS or NCV) that test how well your nerves are working. If there is damage to your nerves then the EMG will be able to pick it up to determine if you have PN or if your symptoms may be caused by something else.
PN is treated with neuropathic pain medications that target nerve pain. Gabapentin (Neurontin) is the first line drug of choice for treating PN. Pregabalin (Lyrica) is also commonly used to treat painful diabetic neuropathy. After these two, there are several other medications that can be tried. Unfortunately, there is no cure for PN. After it is diagnosed, it is important to determine the cause so that you can prevent it from getting worse. If it is from diabetes, then good blood sugar control is very important.