What Causes Neuropathy?

Advance Health Blog

What Causes Neuropathy?

Chris Goetz - Friday, January 11, 2013

Three Causes of Neuropathy: Statin Drugs, Chemotherapy and Diabetes

Goetz with CaptionNeuropathy is a description for a group of nerve damage disorders. It does not describe nerve damage disorders that affect the brain and spinal cord, however, but rather disorders of the peripheral nerve systems. Neuropathy causes pain and numbness in the extremities such as hands and feet and may also limit sensory abilities in those extremities. Some patients also experience loss of motor movement.

Statin drugs are used to lower cholesterol levels and for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. However, this $25 billion a year industry is not without controversy. There is a broad range of opinions of these drugs from medical professionals. Some medical research suggests that statin drug use is linked to headaches, drowsiness, constipation, diarrhoea, rashes, abdominal cramping and far more serious conditions including artery calcification, vitamin D deficiency, memory loss, muscle damage, liver damage, kidney failure, cataracts and increased risk of diabetes.  Yet Dr. Darrel Francis  of the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, in a paper published in the American Journal of Cardiology, suggests that statin drugs be supplied free at fast food outlets to counteract the cholesterol in the food.

Regardless of which opinion you trust, a healthy diet and exercise plan as well as limited alcohol and nicotine consumption can help prevent high cholesterol so you won’t have to consider whether or not to use statin drugs in the first place.

Statin Drugs and Neuropathy

Most pertinently, the scientific journal Neurology has linked statin drug use to an increased risk of neuropathy. Some argue that the risk is still small and that it is rare for the condition to result from use of these drugs but a Danish study shows that used are fourteen times more likely to sustain nerve damage.

Chemotherapy has also been shown to cause neuropathy in about 30 to 40 percent of cases and often causes patients to stop radiation treatment early, though this is not always sufficient to relieve nerve damage. The symptoms are more intense immediately after a course of chemotherapy and lessen over time for up to five months although in some cases the damage is irreversible.

Diabetes is one of the most common causes for neuropathy. Thought incurable, diabetes is completely controllable through diet, exercise, frequent blood sugar testing and in many cases either oral medication or insulin injections. Neuropathy is one of the possible long term complications of diabetes and results from sustained poor blood sugar control. To avoid neuropathy diabetics should work closely with their medical practitioners and have their feet checked annually by a podiatrist in order to catch symptoms early.

If you’re looking for doctors that have decades of experience and a genuine desire to provide an excellent service and neuropathy treatment, partner with Advance Health Services. We’re here to help you with any neuropathy symptoms you may experience. Contact us today.

Dr. Chris Goetz was an offensive lineman with the San Diego Chargers and New York Jets from 1990-1992. Having seen the benefits of therapy as he recuperated from his NFL injuries, he decided to enroll in Chiropractic Medicine school and dedicate himself to bringing relief and wellness to others. He has been Owner/Director of Advance Health Services of Miami since 1999.