Peripheral Neuropathy: A Quick Guide

Young man suffering from leg pain at home

There are over 100 types of different neuropathies that affect millions of people all around the world. Here is a guide to help you learn more about this condition and take care of your loved ones.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, more than 20 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with some form of peripheral neuropathy. This number shows just a proportion of the total cases in the country as the disease is often misdiagnosed due to the complex set of symptoms. We understand that dealing with peripheral neuropathy can be painful and frustrating, but small steps can go a long way. WinSanTor Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of treatments for peripheral neuropathies. We believe in creating a solution that works and brings relief to millions that are struggling with this disease.

What is peripheral neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy refers to the condition that arises due to damage to the peripheral nerves leading to the malfunctioning of the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nerves carry information to and from the central nervous system (CNS). This includes messages letting the nervous system know that our hands or feet are cold and messages from the CNS letting our muscles know to contract. These muscles control our body functions, such as urination and digestion.

What are the common types of peripheral neuropathy?
There are over 100 different types of peripheral neuropathy that have been identified so far. The damage depends on the type of nerve that get affected:

  • Motor nerves control movement, such as walking and urinating.
  • Sensory nerves relay pressure and pain stimulus.
  • Autonomous nerves control autonomous activities that are not in our conscious control, such as breathing.

WinSanTor focuses on diabetic neuropathy, HIV-induced neuropathy and chemo-induced neuropathy.

What are the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?
Symptoms for peripheral neuropathy and the type of nerves that are damaged vary from patient to patient. Damage to motor nerves can cause painful cramps and fasciculations. Sensory nerve damage can cause tingling, pain and inaccurate pain and temperature sensations. Damage to autonomic nerves can cause excessive sweating, a feeling of numbness in your extremities etc.

What treatments are available for peripheral neuropathy?
Neuropathy can be caused by an underlying condition, such as an autoimmune disease or treatment of some disease. Treating the underlying condition can help ease the pain and other symptoms. Changing to a healthier lifestyle with a balanced diet and exercise can also help address the symptoms and make them easier to deal with. Currently, there is no FDA-approved medication or curative treatment for diabetic neuropathy, which affects over 29 million Americans and 415 million people worldwide. Our team at WinSanTor has discovered a cellular pathway in sensory neurons and is in the process of developing an antagonistic drug that is believed to work for multiple indications of peripheral neuropathy.

How is peripheral neuropathy diagnosed?
Since peripheral neuropathy has an array of complex symptoms, it can be difficult to diagnose. Preliminary tests can include physical and neurological exams and genetic testing. Some tests that can determine the extent of the disease include physiological nerve tests, such as nerve conduction velocity (NCV) and electromyography (EMG). Neuropathology tests of nerve appearance include neurodiagnostic skin biopsy and nerve biopsy. Autonomic and radiology imaging testing can also evaluate peripheral neuropathies.

What resources are available for peripheral neuropathy patients and families?
Support groups, therapy and alternative treatments could help patients deal with chronic pain and symptoms.

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“Peripheral Neuropathy Fact Sheet”. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke