Peripheral neuropathy is a condition involving damage to the peripheral nerves. Understanding what happens when you suffer from peripheral neuropathy can be taxing to understand. Here, we look inside a nerve and explain the nervous system.

What is a neuron? What is a nerve?

Nerves and the individual cells, called neurons, are the communication network of the body. There are many different kinds of nerves. Most are categorized by their function. Nerves consist of the nucleus, a cell body (axon) and dendrites.

Illustration of a nerve cell

Think of a nerve as a cellphone charging cable. There is the connection (USB) that connects to the brain (computer) via the spinal cord. The axon (long insulated cord) which carries information from point A to point B is surrounded by the myelin sheath, the insulation protecting the axon. Schwann cells are the insulation. The exposed endings are the axon terminals which, in the case of sensory nerves, make up a live strand (wire). Damage to these nerves can cause disruption and the corrosion would damage the cord. Damage to the myelin insulation would cause a short and damage to the axon terminals, which normally grown 1-2 mm per day, often causes the sensory symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy.

What is a nervous system?

Classification chart for the components of the nervous system

The nerves in our body contribute to the nervous system that is divided into the central and the peripheral nervous systems. The central nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain and the spinal cord while the peripheral nervous system includes nerves that branch out of the CNS and connect to the rest of the body.

What is the peripheral nervous system made of?

The peripheral nervous system is made up of the somatic and autonomic nervous systems. Peripheral neuropathy is caused due to damage to these nerves which leads to loss of sensation and pain.

What is the somatic nervous system?

The somatic nervous system carries sensory information to and from the CNS. It includes two types of neurons:

  • Sensory (afferent neurons) neurons carry information from our muscles to the CNS.
  • Motor (efferent neurons) neurons carry information from our brain and spinal cord to the muscles to help execute physical functions.

What is the autonomic nervous system?

The autonomic nervous system carries information that aids in carrying out the involuntary functions of our body. This includes activities such as breathing, swallowing and blinking.

  • The parasympathetic nervous system allows the body to relax and return to its normal state once a danger has passed. Examples include slowing your heart rate and constriction of pupils.
  • The sympathetic nervous system prepares and helps our body deal with flight or fright situations by pumping more blood flow and dilating pupils.

Understanding how neuropathy affects our body can be confusing. However, taking proper care of our diet and health can help us deal with the symptoms and pain.

WinSanTor 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. Learn more about our company, our drug and subscribe to our newsletter.

Sources