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Q: Peripheral nerve damage? ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Peripheral nerve damage?
Category: Health > Conditions and Diseases
Asked by: macdempsey-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 11 Aug 2004 07:47 PDT
Expires: 10 Sep 2004 07:47 PDT
Question ID: 386417
My 81 year old mother has been dianosed with peripheral nerve damage
(her legs "burn" and hurt constantly) which has caused her chronic
pain for years. a) What specifically is peripheral nerve damage (that
is, in what way are the nerves damaged inorder for the person to
experience pain?) b)  What causes the nerves to be damaged?  c)  How
is it measured on a scale, say of 0=no damage to 10 = complete
destruction of the nerve?  d)  Are there any cures or comforts?
Subject: Re: Peripheral nerve damage?
Answered By: librariankt-ga on 11 Aug 2004 10:53 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hi Macdempsey,

Peripheral neuropathy is a common problem, partly because it can be
caused by a large number of physical ailments including high blood
pressure, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and some toxins and even
some medications.  There is no one way that nerves are damaged.  They
may be compressed because of pressure from surrounding tissues (or
even a cast or the weight of the body, if a person is bedridden). 
They may be physically broken if there has been some kind of trauma to
the nerve.  They could not be "firing" properly because of a chemical
imbalance that restricts the sodium-potassium channel.  Treatment, of
course, depends on the cause for the nerve damage - and may be
complete recovery or only palliation of symptoms.

This is all to say that there are no general answers to your specific
questions.  You need to have a doctor diagnose why she has the
neuropathy.  This will then lead you to a better understanding of what
has happened to the nerves and how the neuropathy can be treated or

I think you should start with the Adam Health Encyclopedia article on
peripheral neuropathy:
This article has quite a lot of detail on causes and treatments, and
links to other diseases in the encyclopedia.

Here are some additional websites for you:

Peripheral Neuropathy Fact Sheet
This fact sheet from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders
and Stroke goes into more detail about how neuropathies are classified
(there's not a scale, per se, but there are more than 100
classifications), what causes and what can cure the disease, and what
research is being done on peripheral nerve damage.

Mayo Clinic: Peripheral Neuropathy
I really like the Mayo Clinic's disease and disorder guides because
they are both very detailed and very understandable.  You'll see
different sections for diagnosis, treatment, and self-care among
others.  The Mayo Clinic also has a quick handout on "Burning
Sensation in Feet":

I got the above sites by going to the National Library of Medicine's
MedlinePlus health topic for Peripheral Nerve Disorders
Librarians at the NLM gather websites from trusted nonprofit and
government organizations and organizes those websites according to the
disease that they talk about.  You can trust these sites to have good,
unbiased information. I should note that I do NOT work for either the
NLM or any of the groups represented in Medlineplus.

Please let me know if I can further help you with this question!

macdempsey-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
Links were great, but would have preferred medical professional (md)
links.   The summary of the information was ok.  Your links  clarified
a lot for me.  Thank You.   I will use Google Answers again.  Well
Worth the $10.00.  Well worth it.  Gene

Subject: Re: Peripheral nerve damage?
From: omnivorous-ga on 11 Aug 2004 08:51 PDT
Macdempsey --

Try the following Google search strategy.  It turns up very good
resources to answer your questions:
"peripheral neuropathy"

Best regards,

Subject: Re: Peripheral nerve damage?
From: twinsfan-ga on 11 Aug 2004 14:08 PDT
Use Google and search for "Neuropathy Association of America".  It is
a support group of many other people with peripheral neuropathy and
can offer many helpful suggestions and lend a sympathetic ear.  It is
NOT meant to be medical advise, but can give you much needed support.
Good luck!

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