Peripheral neuropathy is a condition with diverse causes and variable prognosis, which affects the peripheral nerves that carry information to the central nervous system and, at once, bring back a response from it. It’s a two way highway that transports the most varied information, such as, temperature, location on that body zone, etc., and brings back as a reply actions like: dilating blood vessels or moving to the right, etc. Those examples make it clear how variable and complex is the information carried by those nerves. Peripheral neuropathy is a total or partial, permanent or temporary interruption in that information highway.

The causes of this disease can be grouped in a simple way for better understanding, as discussed below. However, it is important to note that these causes present in extremely variable ways around the world. In some places infections causes are common and in others are virtually unseen.


  • Peripheral neuropathy of metabolic-endocrine origin. Within this group stands the peripheral neuropathy of diabetic origin. However we must not forget that renal failure, hypothyroidism, porphyria, amyloidosis and liver failure can also cause peripheral neuropathy.


  • Peripheral neuropathy of toxic origin. The most frequent in certain regions is the one of alcoholic origin, but it may also occur as a result of some medications used for chemotherapy (usually transitory), heavy metals, fluoroquinolone, etc.


  • Peripheral neuropathy of inflammatory origin. In this group the best known is Guillain-Barré syndrome, but there are other causes such as lupus and others less frequent.


  • Peripheral neuropathy of genetic origin. This is the case of Friederich’s ataxia, but it is also seen in other rare genetic diseases.


  • Peripheral neuropathy by vitamins deficiency. This is a common cause in zones where scarcity prevails and almost unknown in the most privileged zones.


  • Peripheral neuropathy of infectious origin. The most frequent case is leprosy. As in the previous case, this is a disease almost unknown around the world, but frequent in very poor areas. Leprosy is a disease with a cure and should be eradicated as well as vitamins deficiency. These are two clear examples of preventable diseases in a simple way.


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