The Many Faces of Neuropathy Symptoms

As people get older, one problem that many will face is neuropathy. There are different forms of it, and its symptoms can vary, depending on the affected area. The symptoms of neuropathy do not always have a known cause and it cannot yet be treated directly. Instead, a doctor may treat the underlying disease, such as diabetes.


Neuropathy refers to a problem in the transmission of signals from a distant body part to the brain. It may affect the body in three different parts: motor nerve damage; sensory nerve damage; and autonomic nerve damage.

Foot Neuropathy Symptoms

Because the feet are the farthest body parts from the brain, neuropathy often starts there in the form of sensory nerve damage. Foot neuropathy symptoms may include problems such as numbness, tingling, a jabbing or burning pain, and possibly an extreme sensitivity to touch. This type of neuropathy is common in those who are type 2 diabetics, which is why doctors will always check a diabetic’s feet for nerve damage. Damage can easily occur to the feet due to a lack of feeling the injury, which can lead to a serious infection.

Hands Neuropathy Symptoms

While neuropathy often starts in the feet, it will usually progress to the hands and arms. The hands neuropathy symptoms include a needles and pins sensation, a burning or tingling, or a numbness may be felt. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a type of neuropathy of the hands.

Small Fiber Neuropathy Symptoms

The hands and feet contain nerves that have both small and large sensory fibers in them. Small fiber neuropathy symptoms send messages to the brain concerning sensations of temperature and pain. These nerves exist throughout the body, and if they are damaged, the individual may not feel a wound or injury, or even an impending heart attack.

Alcoholic Neuropathy Symptoms

Drinking heavily for many years may lead to alcoholic neuropathy symptoms. After the damage has been done, the symptoms may not be reversible even after the individual stops drinking. The symptoms may include pain in the arms and legs, muscle weakness, diarrhea, incontinence, impotence, muscle cramps, and numbness.

In some cases, neuropathy can cause things that do not normally cause pain to suddenly generate severe pain, such as when a sheet touches the toes or other parts of the body. Autonomic nerve neuropathy can bring about symptoms such as diarrhea, dizziness, incontinence, problems with swallowing, and more.