Our nervous system consists of the central and peripheral nervous system. Peripheral neuropathy is a condition involving damage to the peripheral nerves.
So, what are peripheral nerves? Let’s look inside a nerve and explain the nervous system.
What is a neuron?
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.
Damage to these nerves can cause disruption of body functions. The axon is surrounded by the myelin sheath and damage to the myelin insulation often causes the sensory symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy.
What is the nervous system composed of?
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 composed 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.
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.
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.
What is the impact of damage to the peripheral nerves?
Damage to the peripheral nerves can cause disruption of normal functions. It can distort the signals and messages sent from the brain to the spinal cord and vice versa.
Incorrect signals could alter a person’s sensitivity to pain and temperature. For instance, a person with peripheral neuropathy can feel nothing when touching an extremely hot pan or might feel extreme pain while touching objects that are at room temperature.
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.
- “Nerves and Nervous System”. WinSanTor
- “About Peripheral Nerves”. UC San Diego Health