An Overview Of Sensory Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathies include hereditary neuropathies which are disorders involving the peripheral nerves with mild symptoms that progress gradually. They affect the motor nerves, forming motor neuropathy, sensory nerves leading to sensory neuropathy or a combination of both sensory and motor nerves, wherein damage to these fibers is known as sensory motor neuropathy.

They occur frequently although not usually recognized as a hereditary neuropathy. Hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy occurs even rarely than the motor neuropathy.

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a type of hereditary neuropathy; with a characteristic muscle atrophy of the legs, hence the synonym peroneal muscle atrophy. It is the most common of the hereditary neuropathies, with one out two thousand five hundred people affected. It is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait, wherein only one gene from a parent is needed for it to develop. This disease is divided into three types, with several subtypes. In some types, the axons deteriorate due to the destruction of the myelin sheath. In others, the axons die even without damage to the myelin sheath.

In Type 1 Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, the symptoms surface in middle childhood, or later in adolescence, originating in the lower legs, rendering the foot unable to flex, and also the wasting away of the calf muscles, also known as the stork leg deformity. It spreads to the hands until its muscles also atrophy although they still retain sensation. Sometimes, it is just high arches and hammer toes that present themselves as symptoms of the disease. In other types, males are more affected than the females. Its progression is generally slow and life span is not affected.

In the Type 2 Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, it develops more slowly, with similar symptoms as the Type 1, and starts during the teenage years — as opposed to the Type 3 Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease which starts in infancy. Motor skills are delayed and peripheral nerves are enlarged in these types of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Muscle weakness in the legs progresses faster with the loss of sensation.

There is still no known treatment for this disease. The diagnosis for hereditary sensory motor neuropathy is accomplished by correctly identifying the disease. Most deformities can be corrected, wherein orthopedic surgery is sometimes needed.

Other peripheral neuropathies include sensory polyneuropathy which is commonly seen in diabetic patients. It is a complication of diabetes mellitus which is part of the classification of polyneuropathies, it being either symmetric or asymmetric sensory or mixed. Its symptoms range from a tingling sensation or paresthesia, pain, numbness in the legs, to the more severe sensory loss in the distal part of all limbs. It is caused by a metabolic disorder in the breakdown and absorption of glucose in the body, wherein a prolonged elevated level of blood glucose may cause damage to the nerves and form the neuropathy. Treatment is based on the control and maintenance of blood glucose levels and alleviating the symptoms presented.

One Response to “An Overview Of Sensory Neuropathy”

  1. I have just been diagnosed with “sensory neuropathy”. I did not “get” this disorder through being diabetic, as my AIC and sugar levels are & have been normal. This condition came about due to an event that caused paraparesia & hemiparesia, caudia equine, and periformis syndrome…all on the same day! C-7/T-1 broke apart (no accident or history of back injury) while sitting at my desk at work. 6 hours later I was completely paralyzed from the chest down. HUH? you say, yes well so have I. This happened March 2009, and finally this week I have been given this new information on the sensory neuropathy of my right leg. Lost sensory in the right leg and motor in the left. No treatment I have used in the 3 1/2 years has worked on the tingling or numbness sensations. Funny story about the Capzaison treatments…feel it about 10 hours after applying cream. The information provided on this site suggests this type of neuropathy is “hereditary”, but I didn’t inherit this from anyone.

Leave a Reply