Peripheral Neuropathy. Causes and effects.

Neuropathy is very common. About 25% of Americans are likely to be affected. But, more than a third of those affected don’t know why. You may wonder what causes peripheral neuropathy if you are one of these people.

Peripheral Neuropathy is a condition that occurs when nerves are damaged outside the brain or spinal cord.

It’s not a single disease. There is always a cause. There are more than 100 causes. The phrase “known cause” refers to the fact that there are many other causes of neuropathy, which are more or less undiscovered.

It is possible to not determine the source of nerve damage. The term Idiopathic refers to about a third 

You can better understand nerve damage by understanding what causes it. This will help you to think about how you can make them more sensitive.

There are ways to reduce nerve damage.

You may have one or more causes of peripheral neuropathy. It could be caused by a combination of several factors.

Chronic Inflammation: The Common Factor

Chronic inflammation is a common factor in nearly all cases of peripheral neuropathy. Chronic inflammation is recognized as a common factor in nearly all modern diseases.

Inflammation is a natural response to the body’s immune system and healing systems. It protects against infection and disease and helps to heal the body after damage occurs.

Chronic inflammation can lead to or accelerate disease and prevent healing.

Next, you will see a breakdown of known causes into two categories: mechanical and biological. These lists are not meant to be exhaustive.

They also illustrate the difficulty in identifying direct causes of nerve damage. They also show how peripheral neuropathy can result from multiple risk factors.

Peripheral Neuropathy: Biological Causes

Peripheral neuropathy is the most common type, due to the wide range of possible diseases that can be caused by the body.

The only biological causes of peripheral neuropathy arise from diseases.

It is vital to keep up with routine screenings in order to detect and manage the disease early, if possible, to minimize or avoid their harmful effects.

Diseases that May Cause Peripheral Neuropathy

  • Pre-diabetes, diabetes, metabolic syndrome 
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Thyroid disease 
  • Viral or Bacterial Infections 
  • Alcoholism
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Some cancers 
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis 
  • Sogren’s syndrome
  • Chronic venous insufficiency
  • Vasculitis 
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Gastric bypass surgery 
  • Lupus 
  • Lyme disease 
  • Peripheral arterial disease 
  • Heart diseases
  • Gut infections 27 and 28
  • Fabry’s Disease 
  • Nutritional deficiencies 
  • Vitamin toxicity 
  • HIV 
  • Excessive weight 
  • Tumors 
  • Connective tissue diseases 
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Charcot-Marie Tooth disease
  • Chronic inflammatory 

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy can be caused by mechanical causes. This is when the body is acted on by an external force or structural problem. This can be caused by injury, compression, or any other trauma that could cause nerve damage

Pinched nerves caused by misaligned joints can lead to nerve damage that could last a lifetime if not treated. Another type of mechanical procedure that can cause peripheral nerve damage is surgery. This can happen due to post-surgical inflammation or cutting of nerves.

These are some examples of mechanical causes for peripheral neuropathy:

  • Brachial plexus syndrome
  • Broken bone
  • Bunion
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Herniated discs
  • Joint trauma
  • Morton’s neuroma
  • Pinched nerves (entrapped, compressed).
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Stenosis
  • Slipped disc
  • Spinal surgery
  • Spinal tumor
  • Surgical damage HTML4 HTML5 HTML5

Peripheral Neuropathy: Toxic Causes

Toxic neuropathy is often the name for chemicals, poisons, and poisons that cause peripheral nerve damage. These nerve-damaging toxins can be found in our environment in the form of chemicals in products and toiletries, as well as chemicals we ingest through food, smoking, or medications.

Toxins cause the nervous system to “die back”, which is what happens to nerve cells (neurons), that have the longest nerve fibers (4xons). 47 48

Because nerve fibers that extend from the fingers and toes are the most fragile and longest, symptoms can often be seen in these areas first. As nerve damage progresses symptoms may move towards the central body.

Liver and kidney diseases can reduce the body’s ability to filter out toxins. This makes toxic exposure even more dangerous. Regular screenings of your liver and kidneys are recommended.

Peripheral Neuropathy May Be Caused by Environmental Toxins

Here are some of the most common toxic substances we come across every day:

  • Alcohol 
  • Smoke
  • Vitamin toxicity 
  • Indoor mold and mycotoxins
  • Arsenic (water and soil, contaminated food)
  • Excitotoxins like MSG or aspartame 
  • Acrylamide 
  • Heavy metals 
  • Thallium (in contaminated foods and water, cigarettes).

Peripheral Neuropathy May Be Caused by Medications

Many medications carry warnings about nerve damage. Some are electives such as acne medication, while others are life-saving drugs such as cancer medications.

Do not stop taking medication if you have concerns. Talk to your doctor about any concerns. There may be other options in some cases.


You should not stop taking prescribed medications without first consulting your doctor.

These resources combine the following medications that have peripheral nerve damage warnings:

Useful for High Cholesterol

  • Alcor (lovastatin)
  • Crestor (rosuvastatin)
  • Lescol (fluvastatin)
  • Lipex (simvastatin)
  • Lipitor (atorvastatin)
  • Livalo (pitavastatin)
  • Pravachol (pravastatin)

Use for Blood Pressure

  • Amiodarone
  • Captopril
  • Enalapril
  • Flecainide
  • Hydralazine
  • Perhexiline

Useful for Autoimmune Disorders

  • Arava (leflunomide)
  • Chloroquine
  • Enbrel (etanercept).
  • Golimumab (etanercept)
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Infliximab (etanercept)
  • Remicade (infliximab)


  • Aczone (dapsone)
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Chloroquine
  • Cipro (ciprofloxacin)
  • Ethambutol
  • Flagyl (metronidazole)
  • Isoniazid
  • Metronidazole
  • Nitrofurantoin
  • Stavudine
  • Suramin
  • Thalidomide
  • Videx (didanosine).

Useful for Rheumatic Diseases

  • Allopurinol
  • Colchicine
  • Etanercept
  • Gold
  • Indomethacin

Use for Cancer

  • Abraxane (paclitaxel)
  • Cisplatin
  • docetaxel
  • Matulane (procarbazine)
  • Misonidazole
  • Paclitaxel
  • Platinol (cisplatin)
  • Revlimid (lenalidomide)
  • Suramin
  • Vinblastine
  • Vincristine

Treatments for Seizures

  • Carbamazepine
  • Dilantin
  • Phenytoin
  • Phenobarbital

Anti-Alcohol Drugs

  • Disulfiram

Anti-HIV/AIDS Drugs

  • Emtriva (emtricitabine)
  • Truvada (tenofovir, emtricitabine).
  • Videx (didanosine).
  • Zerit (stavudine)


  • Colchicine is used to treat gout.
  • Arsenic
  • Gold
  • Lithium

Next Steps

Prevention is the best treatment. Knowing the causes of peripheral neuropathy is important to prevent nerve damage, or minimize symptoms and damage once they have begun. To manage the underlying conditions, work with your doctor.

All cases of peripheral neuropathy should be treated with self-care strategies to reduce chronic inflammation and improve general health.

Neuropathy Research Group

Neuropathy Research Group

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Neuropathy Research Group

The mission of the Neuropathy Research Group is to provide a forum for discussion, education and research on neuropathy

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