Peripheral neuropathy Symptoms and causes

In agreement with this, one recent study has confirmed the efficacy of TCAs in central pain [116]. The serotonin/norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors (SNRIs), duloxetine and venlafaxine, have a well-documented efficacy in painful polyneuropathy [117, 118]. SSRIs have been studied in a few trials which have demonstrated a weak analgesic effect but the clinical relevance of these compounds is questionable [119]. This could lead to disability, chronic pain, and damage to your arms and legs. However, if caught early enough, you can minimize the damage from alcoholic neuropathy.

  • The alcohol will continue to circulate in the bloodstream and eventually affect other organs.
  • The true incidence of alcoholic neuropathy in the general population is unknown, and figures vary widely depending on the definition of chronic alcoholism and the criteria used to detect and classify neuropathy.
  • This suggests that these pathways are potential targets for novel pharmacological agents for the treatment of inflammatory as well as neuropathic pain [71].
  • Affected nerves include the peripheral nerves, primarily located in the arms and legs, and the autonomic nerves, which help regulate our internal body functions.
  • Desired outcomes of these medications include reduced pain and improved sleep.
  • Deficiencies in these nutrients can harm overall health and stop nerves from functioning correctly.

An accumulation of acetaldehyde in the serum causes direct damage to the axon in alcohol-induced PN. Additionally, chronic heavy alcohol consumption is toxic to the metabotropic glutamate receptor 5, which activates neuronal protein kinase C and causes neuropathic pain. Alcoholic neuropathy is one of the most common adverse effects of chronic alcohol consumption.

How does alcohol cause neuropathy?

Symptoms include burning pain in the body, hyperalgesia (increased sensitivity to pain), and allodynia (a condition in which normal stimulus, like a soft touch, produces pain). Benfotiamine, a synthetic derivative of vitamin B1, improves neuropathic pain and motor movement by increasing nerve conduction velocity. A nutritious diet; vitamin supplements, especially vitamins B1 and B12; and reduction of or abstinence from alcohol use is the only way to improve the patient’s PN by allowing nerves to slowly regenerate. N-acetylcysteine, an amino acid, is a potent antioxidant and helps to enhance glutathione concentrations. N-acetylcysteine may have application in the prevention or treatment of neuropathy.

  • Other vitamin deficiencies seen with alcohol abuse include, but are not limited to, B-vitamins, folic acid, and vitamin-E.
  • Symptoms include burning pain in the body, hyperalgesia (increased sensitivity to pain), and allodynia (a condition in which normal stimulus, like a soft touch, produces pain).
  • When it comes to managing neuropathy itself, the available medical interventions work by preventing the disease from becoming worse.
  • Early diagnosis and treatment give you the best chance for controlling your symptoms and preventing further damage to your peripheral nerves.
  • Constant pain in the hands or feet is one of the most bothersome aspects of alcoholic neuropathy.
  • Thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia were also present with decreased mechanical threshold of C-fibres.
  • If the patient continues to drink, the disease will progress and affect the internal organs, digestion, basic balance and coordination, and even the urinary tract and sexual function.

When the liver and kidneys process alcohol, they also remove a lot of vitamins and other nutrients needed for nerve health along with it. Alcohol-induced peripheral neuropathy (PN) is a chronic and painful condition in which the neurotoxic effects of alcohol and nutritional deficiencies cause a pathologic response in nerve function. This article presents the pathophysiology, signs and symptoms, diagnostic approaches, treatment options, and nursing care of patients with alcohol-induced PN. The median and ulnar nerves are evaluated for motor function and the median, ulnar, and sural nerves are evaluated for sensory function. The sural nerve plays an important role in the diagnosis of alcohol-induced PN because it’s located in the calf and innervates sensory function in the lower legs where symptoms begin.

Pearls and Other Issues

If liver damage is evident, appropriate consultation with a transplantation service is recommended. However, neuropathy is generally an exclusion criterion for transplantation. Autonomic nerves are concerned with muscular functions which are reflexive, such as breathing, heartbeats and peristalsis (rhythmic movements of the intestines). This progressive and aggressive type of neuropathy is described as an ascending neuropathy that begins in the feet and gradually travels up the body to eventually weaken the muscles that control breathing. Vitamin B12 deficiency often requires supplementation with vitamin B12 injections rather than with pills taken by mouth because many people who are vitamin B12 deficient are not able to reach adequate levels through oral pills. Physical therapy and orthopedic appliances (such as splints) may be needed to maintain muscle function and limb position.

neuropathy alcohol treatment

It is likely to get worse if the person continues to use alcohol or if nutritional problems are not corrected. Alcoholic neuropathy is usually not life threatening, but it can severely affect alcohol neuropathy quality of life. Medicines may be needed to treat pain or uncomfortable sensations due to nerve damage. They will be prescribed the smallest dose of medicine needed to reduce symptoms.

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