More than 20 million people in the United States struggle with neuropathy. These individuals experience pain and weakness that come from a defect in the nervous system.
Unfortunately, there's no cure for neuropathy. However, there are some available treatments that work better for patients who identify their condition early on.
Neuropathy lab tests are the best way to determine whether or not you have neuropathy or are currently developing it.
To learn more about neuropathy and the neuropathy tests that you need for a diagnosis, keep reading.
What Is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a condition of the nervous system that's associated with nerve damage. The condition can stand alone or develop as a result of another condition.
A couple of the common conditions that may cause neuropathy are diabetes and Guillain-Barre syndrome. Some patients may even develop neuropathy as a side effect of treatments like chemotherapy.
Neuropathy is also called peripheral neuropathy. Although peripheral neuropathy is localized to the legs and arms, neuropathy can occur anywhere in the body.
Neuropathy does not have a singular cause or symptom. It's a set of symptoms that occurs because of a few different processes happening in the body.
Unfortunately, neuropathy is not curable. However, there are steps that you can take to prevent the condition before you develop it as well as steps that you can take to prevent the condition from worsening after you develop it.
Risk Factors for Neuropathy
The risk factors for neuropathy are linked to previous medical history and current lifestyle choices. Here are the common risk factors associated with neuropathy:
- Vitamin B deficiency
- Copper deficiency
- Nutrient excess
- Exposure to toxins
If you have any of these risk factors, it's important to let your health provider know so that they can better care for you. While having these conditions isn't guaranteed to lead to neuropathy, they are strongly correlated with them.
Causes of Neuropathy
The most common cause of neuropathy is diabetes. Because of the changes in the blood that happen with the condition, it can lead to numbness and tingling in the legs and arms.
Cancer patients can experience chemotherapy-induced neuropathy. The chemo treatment kills fast-growing cells in the body. Unfortunately, it can go after some of your healthy cells as well.
Getting these treatments over time can cause damage to the nervous system as nerve cells die.
Autoimmune diseases can also cause neuropathy. People with these conditions have an immune system that is attacking healthy cells. Sometimes, this includes healthy nerve cells.
Infectious diseases can lead to neuropathy as well. Like with the HIV/AIDS virus, these infectious agents can cause damage to the nervous system over time.
Those people with HIV or AIDS can develop the condition from the virus, while others develop it from the medications that providers use to contain the virus.
Nutrition problems, including deficiencies, malnutrition, excess, and alcoholism can cause neuropathy as well. The imbalance within the body causes problems with the nerve cells, eventually leading to neuropathy.
Repetitive stress, inflammation, and irritation can also cause nerve problems. If you've had an injury in the past, you could be at risk of developing neuropathy.
Lastly, we should point out idiopathic neuropathy and genetic neuropathy. Idiopathic neuropathy has no known cause, while genetic neuropathy is passed down through families.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Neuropathy?
The signs and symptoms that a patient gets from neuropathy will depend on how advanced it is and what kind of neuropathy they have. Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms for patients with neuropathy:
- Sensitivity to touch
- Muscle weakness
Usually, these signs and symptoms occur in the arms and/or legs. However, the location of these signs and symptoms depends on the location of your neuropathy.
If the condition has a chance to develop too far, you could develop paralysis. It's important to catch the condition early.
How Is Neuropathy Diagnosed?
There are several ways that a healthcare provider can diagnose neuropathy.
First, they could use electrodiagnostic testing. This includes a series of tests that look at the nerve function and nerve sensitivity in different areas of your body.
They can also use a needle examination, which requires using a needle to get audio and visual information about your muscle functioning.
Your healthcare provider may choose to get a skin biopsy. By look at the sample under a microscope, they can determine whether your neuropathy is associated with your nerve fibers.
Quantitive sensory testing is also an option. This can help healthcare providers determine how much damage there is to your existing nerves.
Lastly, your healthcare provider may want to run a couple of neuropathy blood tests to see if you have signs of inflammation and damage in your blood.
The Lab Tests to Screen, Diagnose, and Monitor Neuropathy
Since neuropathy is a nerve condition, there aren't many regular neuropathy lab tests. However, there are a few tests that can help your provider determine the kind of neuropathy that you have. These include the following:
By getting these kinds of tests, you can take the next steps when it comes to controlling your neuropathy. By knowing how it developed, you and your healthcare provider can make better decisions about your future health. This means that you may be able to slow down the development of the condition or even help with symptoms.
Get Your Neuropathy Lab Tests at Ulta Lab Tests
If you think that you may have neuropathy, you should get neuropathy lab tests sooner rather than later. If you get a diagnosis now, you can take the necessary steps to get it under control before you experience signs like paralysis.
Luckily, you can get neuropathy lab tests at Ulta Lab Tests. We can help you figure out whether or not you're at risk for the condition. If you are, you should have a conversation with your healthcare provider about controlling the disease.
Ulta Lab Tests offers highly accurate and reliable tests, so you can make informed decisions about your health. Benefits of using Ulta Lab Tests include:
- 2100 patient service centers across the nation
- Secure and confidential results delivered to you in 24 to 48 hours for most tests
- No insurance required
- No doctor’s referral required
- A 100% satisfaction guarantee
Take control of your health today with neuropathy labs tests from Ulta Lab Tests.