The nervous system is involved in everything you do, from managing your breathing to controlling muscles and sensing temperature changes.
There are 3 different types of nerves in your body:
- Autonomic nerves – These nerves control the automatic activities of your body, including heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and temperature regulation.
- Motor nerves – control your movements and actions by passing information from your brain and spinal cord to your muscles.
- Sensory nerves – They relay incoming information from your body (skin and muscles) back to your spine and brain. The information is then processed to let you feel pain and other sensations.
As you can see, nerves are essential to all you do. This is why nerve pain and nerve damage can have a huge impact on your quality of life.
What Are the Symptoms?
Nerve damage can surface with a wide array of symptoms. It can vary wildly depending on the location and type of nerves that are affected.
Autonomic nerve damage can have some of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty sensing chest pain
- Too much sweating or too little sweating
- Feeling of lightheadedness
- Dry eyes
- Dry mouth
- Bladder dysfunction
- Sexual dysfunction
Damage to motor nerves may produce the following symptoms:
- Weakness in related extremities
- Muscle atrophy
- Twitching, also known as fasciculation
- Possible partial or complete paralysis
Sensory nerve damage may produce the following symptoms:
- Tingling or prickling
- Problems with positional awareness
Many people with nerve damage have multiple symptoms at the same time. For example, you might experience weakness and tingling of your legs at the same time.
What Causes It?
This can be very complicated to answer as there are more than 100 different types of nerve damage. Each type has different symptoms and will require different treatments.
Nerve damage becomes increasingly common as you get older. It is estimated that 70% of people with diabetes have some amount of nerve damage.