Hereditary Neuropathy?


If you’re reading this and you’re already in your late 20’s or early 30’s (or older) and you have [1]

•      Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

•      Hereditary Neuropathy with Liability to Pressure Palsies (HNPP)

•      Dejerine-Sottas Disease (DSD)

•      Hereditary Motor Neuropathy (HMN)

You were probably diagnosed in your teens or possibly earlier.  But if you or someone you know is in their teens (or younger) and they have a combination of the following symptoms:

•      Numbness

•      Tingling

•      Pain in their feet and hands

•      Weakness and loss of muscle mass (especially in their calves or lower legs and feet)

•      Impaired sweating

•      Insensitivity to pain

•      Foot deformities such as hammer toes or high arches

•      Scoliosis (curvature of the spine)

It might be time to do some genetic testing to determine if they have a form of hereditary neuropathy.

What is Hereditary Neuropathy?

Hereditary neuropathies are inherited disorders that affect the peripheral nervous system, often resulting in peripheral neuropathy.  Hereditary neuropathies can affect you in many different ways but they are usually grouped into four different categories[2]:

•      Motor and sensory neuropathy – affecting movement and the ability to feel sensations

•      Sensory neuropathy – affecting the senses

•      Motor neuropathy – affecting the ability to move

•      Sensory and autonomic neuropathy – affecting the ability to feel sensation and the autonomic nervous system (the system that controls your ability to sweat, your heart rate, your body’s ability to regulate your blood pressure, your digestion, etc.)

As the names imply, they are classified based on exactly which nerves are affected and which functions are impaired.

The most common form of hereditary neuropathy is Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (a motor and sensory neuropathy)  affecting 1 out of every 2500 people.  Most people with CMT are diagnosed before they reach their 20’s but their symptoms can begin years earlier.  CMT may take a while to diagnose because the symptoms can wax and wane over a period of years.

How Can I Find Out if I Have Hereditary Neuropathy?

The only way to diagnose hereditary neuropathy is through blood tests for genetic testing, nerve conduction studies and nerve biopsies.   If you’ve been diagnosed without going through any of these tests, you probably don’t have a good diagnosis.

Your doctor should take a very thorough history and physical.  In order to really determine if you are at risk for hereditary neuropathy, you need to look as far back as three generations.  However, a word to the wise, even if you hereditary neuropathy has not shown up in your family previously, all inherited diseases have to start somewhere.  You could just be the person starting it in your family.   That makes genetic testing even more important.

Are Hereditary Neuropathies Curable?

There are no cures for the various types of hereditary neuropathies.  Treatment is usually to treat the symptoms and give your body the support it needs to function as normally as possible.  That usually means physical and occupational therapy,  as well as

•      Care and correction for your muscular and skeletal systems

•      Treatment for any other underlying medical problems

•      Nutrition education and diet planning

•      A step by step exercise regimen

•      Medication as needed or necessary

A highly skilled medical professional well versed in diagnosing and treating nerve damage is your best place to start for treatment of your Hereditary Neuropathy.  An excellent place to start is with a NeuropathyDr® clinician.  They have had great success in treating patients with hereditary neuropathy in all its various forms.

If you have a confirmed diagnosis of Hereditary Neuropathy or think you may have it, seek treatment now.  While you can’t be cured, you can take steps to treat and lessen your symptoms and greatly improve your quality of life.  Contact us today for information on how your Hereditary Neuropathy can be treated, your suffering lessened and exactly how to find a NeuropathyDr® in your area.

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Neuropathy Basics: Distinguishing Sensory Neuropathy from Motor Neuropathy

What You Need to Know about the Two Types of Neuropathy and How to Treat Them

Why is neuropathy so difficult sometimes to diagnose and treat?

Well, for starters, there is no one disorder known as neuropathy. Technically, it’s an entire group of issues ranging from basic to complex.

One helpful way of subdividing this class of disorders is to think about sensory vs. motor. Sensory neuropathy is about sensation or lack of sensation—in other words, tingling or pain on one end of the spectrum and numbness on the other end.

Losing sensation can also affect balance, which is a major quality of life issue.

Things like diabetic neuropathy (in its early stages), neuropathy related to metabolic syndrome, and chemotherapy induced neuropathy are examples of sensory neuropathies.

On the other hand, motor (or movement) neuropathy describes a loss of power and strength in the muscles. The major symptom of this type of neuropathy is muscle weakness.

Unfortunately, motor issues can be difficult to diagnose and even harder to treat. You can end up with motor neuropathy as a side effect of a Lyme disease infection, or it can be genetic.

What’s important to know about sensory vs. motor neuropathy is that even the most advanced cases with the worst symptoms can often show some amount of improvement through self care. That means good nutrition, physical therapy, and at-home neurostimulation techniques. Some types of supplements may also help, such as CoQ10.

Even though I’m urging self care, I want to make sure you truly understand that a good self care protocol and treatment plan is always developed in collaboration with a knowledgeable neuropathy clinician.

If you don’t know where to turn to find a trained neuropathy expert in your local area, click here for a list of NeuropathyDR® clinicians sorted by region.

Neuropathy Basics: Distinguishing Sensory Neuropathy from Motor Neuropathy is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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What’s The Prognosis for Hereditary Neuropathy?

Diagnosed with a Hereditary Form of Neuropathy? Here’s How to Treat Longstanding and Progressive Nerve Symptoms.

If you have hereditary neuropathy, you may have received your diagnosis years ago in your 20s or 30s, or even in your teens. You’re probably already familiar with terms like these: HNPP (Hereditary Neuropathy with Liability to Pressure Palsies), Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, DSD (Dejerine-Sottas Disease), or HMN (Hereditary Motor Neuropathy).

You probably also already know the kinds of symptoms that these hereditary neuropathies can cause:

  • Pain in the hands and feet
  • Tingling or numbness, especially in extremities
  • Weak and emaciated muscles in the legs and feet
  • Problems sweating
  • Deformities of the foot (such as hammer toes) or spine (such as scoliosis)

But what you may not know is the vast advancements in treating hereditary neuropathy that have been made over the past few years. Though your condition is not curable, it is in many cases highly treatable.

Here are the general types of hereditary neuropathy that we usually see in our clinics. People with sensory neuropathy have limited input from touch and the other “six senses” that we normally gather information about the world. People with motor neuropathies have limited mobility or range of motion. People with autonomic neuropathy have trouble with their bodies’ ability to efficiently regulate things like their heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and other body systems that normally take care of themselves without any input from us. And some folks have mixed neuropathies that affect more than one body system.

Genetic testing is the primary way to diagnose hereditary neuropathy, along with nerve biopsies and nerve conduction studies. All of these elements are needed for an accurate diagnosis. Your neuropathy specialist should also interview you for information about your family’s health going back two to three generations. It’s important to note that you might have a hereditary form of neuropathy even if you don’t know of anyone in your family with similar symptoms.

When it comes to formulating a treatment plan, keep in mind that hereditary neuropathy can’t be cured, but treatments are available to help you heal as much as possible and significantly improve your quality of life. Typically, your treatment plan should include several elements, including:

  • Addressing any underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes
  • Beneficial lifestyle changes, including nutrition and appropriate exercise
  • Medication (in some cases)
  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Other high-tech treatment options, such as laser light therapy

It’s vital to seek a diagnosis and treatment planning from a highly trained neuropathy specialist who can customize your treatment for your specific needs. Click here to find a NeuropathyDR® specialist near you.

What’s The Prognosis for Hereditary Neuropathy? is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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Is There a Peripheral Neuropathy Cure?

It’s The First Question On Your Mind When You Are Diagnosed: Is There A Cure For Peripheral Neuropathy?

It’s the big question. When you’re just been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, there’s only one thing you want to know: Is it going to get better? Is there a cure?

I wish I could say a resounding YES in answer to this question. Maybe a more honest answer would be, “Not yet.” Unfortunately, depending on how your specific case of neuropathy originated, many cases of nerve damage are permanent.

But don’t stop reading there! What you need to know about peripheral neuropathy is that there ARE steps you can take to treat your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Yes, peripheral neuropathy is a chronic condition, but we have learned so much over the years about how to effectively manage symptoms.

One of the areas that can be greatly improved for anyone with peripheral neuropathy is increased mobility. You may be experiencing mobility-related symptoms such as motor neuropathy, which decreases the strength of your limbs; decreased fine motor skills and dexterity in your fingertips;or trouble walking because of stiff joints and painful feet.

All of these problems can be frustrating and can severely impact your daily life, when even the simplest tasks have become incredibly difficult. This can lead to mood disorders like depression, a secondary effect of peripheral neuropathy for many people.

That’s why the best approach to peripheral neuropathy treatment is multi-faceted. The closest thing we have to a “cure” is a flexible treatment approach that incorporates at-home nutrition and exercise adjustments, along with state-of-the-art options like laser therapy, based on a customized assessment from a trained NeuropathyDR® clinician. You’ll be able to take symptom management into your own hands and return to living the life YOU want to lead.

To start improving your quality of life right away and take charge of peripheral neuropathy, click here to locate a NeuropathyDR® clinician near you.

Is There a Peripheral Neuropathy Cure? is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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Motor Neuropathy Care- Long Term Strategies are Key

If you are a regular NeuropathyDR® blog reader, you know that we tend to focus on the latest developments and research in treating neuropathy pain.  With peripheral neuropathy, though, pain is only one component.  This week, we’re going to talk about how neuropathy can affect your muscles, also called motor neuropathy.

There are essentially three kinds of motor neuropathy.  The first is the overall weakening effect of the muscles, especially in the extremities, which often accompanies peripheral neuropathy.  This can occur because the nerves which control motor function in the muscles have become damaged, or—in the case of a compression neuropathy—constricted.  The second kind is called multifocal motor neuropathy, and takes place when the immune system itself begins to attack the nerves, as can happen after a series of infections or after an illness.  The third kind is Hereditary Motor Sensory Neuropathy, which, as the name suggests, is genetic in nature.  Hereditary Motor Sensory Neuropathy, or HMSN, occurs when there is a naturally-occurring deterioration in the nerves that control the muscles, causing the muscles to not be used, become weak, or even atrophy.

Motor neuropathy usually starts in the hands and feet, and can affect the full extension of fingers and toes.  In addition to the dexterity problems this obviously causes, it often also has a visual appearance of “clawlike” fingers.  The condition is degenerative, getting worse over a period of months and years.  Twitching and spasms can also happen in affected limbs.  While motor issues associated with peripheral neuropathy usually accompany pain, tingling, and numbness, multifocal motor neuropathy involves no pain (only the motor nerves are affected).  Generally, none of the varieties of motor neuropathy are life-threatening, although they can absolutely impact your comfort and quality of life if you suffer from them.

When we met our patient Robert, he complained of a steady and declining loss of strength in his feet, which he had experienced over the past 4 years.  Robert had had cancer during that time, culminating in having his prostate removed.  His motor neuropathy caused Robert to have trouble walking or standing for long periods, and he even had trouble feeling his feet on some occasions.  He also complained of shooting pain, tingling, and soreness in his feet, all typical calling cards of peripheral neuropathy.  Since in cases of multifocal motor neuropathy, the sensory nerves are usually unaffected, Robert’s pain and numbness ruled that out.  Sure enough, when we performed a battery of tests, we found that Robert’s sensation to vibration was all but gone in several places on his feet.

Motor Neuropathy is Characterized by Weakness of The Muscles

Robert did not respond with the typical level of relief we usually see after treating a patient with electro-stimulation.  Over the course of three treatment sessions, Robert’s level of strength and comfort in his feet did not change in any meaningful way.  While this is unusual, it highlights an important theme: neuropathy is a complex problem with many symptoms and manifestations, and NO single therapy technique or tool—even those with a very high rate of success—can stand on their own as a complete treatment.

We designed a treatment for Robert intended to produce more long-term benefit, as his short-term progress was not substantial.  Motor neuropathies require an extensive MULTI-MODAL level of treatment, sometimes pharmaceutical and sometimes homeopathic, and usually involving some level of regular exercise and controlled diet.  Robert is currently improving steadily, and is seeing his NeuropathyDR® clinician as prescribed to monitor his condition and progress.

If you suffer from weakness or pain in your limbs, you may have peripheral neuropathy.  If so, we are here to help!  Contact NeuropathyDR® right away and we will help you find the best course of treatment for your specific symptoms.  We can even put you in touch with a specially-trained NeuropathyDR® clinician who can help you develop a therapy plan that will get results.

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/multifocal_neuropathy/multifocal_neuropathy.htm

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/multifocal_neuropathy/multifocal_neuropathy.htm