Peripheral Neuropathy: Common in People 55+
Peripheral nerves carry messages from the brain and spinal cord to the entire body: muscles, skin and internal organs. Peripheral neuropathy, which is common in people over the age of 55, occurs when those nerves are damaged or affected by disease. Peripheral neuropathy can prevent normal sensation; cause numbness, tingling or burning; impair muscle movement and bring weakness; and cause pain.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, called a mononeuropathy, is due to the overuse compression and damage to a single nerve in the wrist. Diabetic neuropathy and Guillain-Barre syndrome are two examples of polyneuropathy, which occurs when nerves in different areas of the body are malfunctioning at the same time.
Neuropathies can be caused by injury or trauma; illness or conditions such as diabetes and autoimmune, kidney or thyroid diseases; poor nutrition, such as in vitamin B deficiency; infections such as Lyme disease or shingles; toxins from alcoholism or environmental poisons; medications and medical treatments; certain cancers; and more.
If you experience neuropathy, talk to your doctor: Early diagnosis provides the best opportunity for successful treatment. A healthy lifestyle and healthy self-care are the best ways to help prevent and minimize neuropathies.