Polyneuropathy Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Polyneuropathy Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

What is polyneuropathy?

A person develops polyneuropathy when his peripheral nerves are damaged.  Peripheral nerves run throughout your body. This disease, polyneuropathy effect nerves, organs, and muscles. The damage of nerves causes them to become unable to send signals to your brain. However, the good news is that the nerves in your brain and spinal cord are not damaged.

Polyneuropathy Types:

Polyneuropathy is classified into two major categories:

  • Acute polyneuropathy

Acute polyneuropathy happens when the symptoms are severe and you get the disease suddenly. When the infection damages the nerve or when the auto-immune reaction takes place then this type of polyneuropathy occurs. Any specific kind of disorder such as Guillain-Barré syndrome can also contribute to the cause of this disease. The acute cases of polyneuropathy can usually be treated in short time span.

  • Chronic polyneuropathy

When the symptoms last for a long time and cannot be treated quickly then this form of neuropathy is known as chronic polyneuropathy. Diabetes or kidney failure may lead to the development of this condition. However, the causes of chronic polyneuropathy can be numerous. The cause is not always manifest and its sometimes difficult to figure out the cause. Often it happens without any cause at all.

Symptoms of polyneuropathy

Symptoms of polyneuropathy can differ according to the cause. The most common symptoms include:

  • Paresthesia: that is the condition in which random and bizarre sensations are experienced.
  • Sharp and sudden pain in any part of the body
  • Distal polyneuropathy characterized by burning or tingling sensations in your feet and your hands
  • Allodynia a condition in which a person feels extremely sensitive to the touch
  • Numbness of any part of the body
  • Atrophied muscles causing your legs and arms to feel weak
  • Being unable to walk straight which can cause you to stumble and fall
  • Trouble swallowing the food.

What causes polyneuropathy?

It can be caused by genetic, acquired and Idiopathic factors.

Idiopathic is a term used in medicine when the causes of the development of certain disease are unknown and the health practitioners are unable to pinpoint the causes.

Acquired polyneuropathy refers to the causes of the development of the disease due to the factors outside the body, simply put external factors, such as the traumatic injury caused by an accident or falling down etc or an infection of grave nature. The underlying condition that was left untreated can also cause polyneuropathies such as vitamin deficiency, cancer, diabetes and other illnesses that may cause complications.

The genetic or hereditary polyneuropathy as the name suggests is passed on to the patient by their parents. This type of condition usually leads to slow and gradual nerve damage such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

In addition, there can be several different factors that cause acute forms to develop.

These factors include certain insecticides, autoimmune disorders in which your body cells attack the myelin sheath on your nerve cells, antibiotics, sedatives, and anticonvulsants. The cancers such as multiple myeloma that affect multiple parts of the body also cause this condition.

Chronic forms usually do not have any specific causes but certain factors can contribute to the development of chronic polyneuropathy.

Drinking a lot of alcohol if one of the causes, fluctuation in blood sugar levels and diabetes, exposure to heavy metals, nutritional and vitamin deficiencies, failure of kidneys, the condition of hypothyroidism, and some cancers such as lung cancer.

Polyneuropathy Treatment

To get rid of this disease you must first determine the cause of this condition. Then, you need to identify the parts of your body where it is taking place. In some or most of the cases, painkillers are given to the patient to provide relief from the excruciating pain that is caused due to the nerve damage. The drugs that are given may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. One of the best drugs for nerve pain is Nerve Renew from Neuropathy Treatment Group.

  • Changes in lifestyle

Changing habits and modifying your lifestyle may help you to treat polyneuropathy. Avoiding alcohol or joining a rehab for getting rid of alcohol addiction and avoiding the specific repetitive task may provide you some relief from this disease.

If a certain toxic or chemicals such as metal, pesticides etc is the cause of your condition then the healthcare practitioner may suggest ways to limit your exposure to it.

  • For severe injuries

If you have developed polyneuropathy as a result of an injury then your doctor may suggest physical therapy and refer you to a physiotherapist for a physiotherapy session. He will help you regain the full control over your body and be able to move your body parts freely once again. You may also learn that how to manage the body pains and sensations that are being caused by the nerve damage.

  • Disorder caused due to autoimmune conditions

If an autoimmune condition is the cause of polyneuropathy, then your physical health practitioner may suggest alternative therapies and treatments. These may include the use of corticosteroids, direct injection of immune globulin into your veins, exchange of plasma that may remove the toxins from your blood.

What to watch out for

The overall health of an individual determines his risk factors for developing a certain disease. If a person has Diabetes, kidney or liver disorders, alcohol addiction, an autoimmune disorder, severe infections such as HIV, Lyme, and shingles and moving certain parts of your body repetitively such as in industrial jobs.


One can prevent nerve damage from happening by checking for the early signs and symptoms of the disease. Watch out for your symptoms before they start messing up with your life. This is one of the sure fire ways to stay away from this debilitating disease.