Dear Doctor

Dear Doctor

Sometimes my hands tingle; sometimes it feels like an electrical shock. What’s happening?

The symptoms you described are common to a condition called peripheral neuropathy, which is a disorder of the peripheral nerves that connect the spinal cord to muscles, skin and internal organs.

Neuropathy’s symptoms can come and go, develop slowly or become debilitating. With early diagnosis, peripheral neuropathy can often be controlled. Left untreated, it can cause permanent nerve loss, tissue damage and muscle atrophy.

More than 20 million Americans suffer with peripheral neuropathy. Although more common in older people, neuropathy can occur at any age.

Diabetes, cancer, kidney failure, autoimmune disorders, tumors, heredity, nutritional imbalances, infections and toxins can cause neuropathy. In about 30 percent of patients, neuropathy develops for no known reason. While some types can be cured, others cannot. A neurologist can help determine the best treatment.

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