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A member asked:

What is neuropathy and can it be cured? dizziness, very disoriented.tingling hands, fingers, feet, and also swelling , water retention, feels like i'm drunk cannot walk straight, very much afraid of falling, i feel like i'm tilting more to one side .

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Herbert Krob
Neurology 30 years experience
Swelling : Swelling and water retention are not usual symptoms of neuropathy. These problems are serious enough to need evaluation right away. A same day appointment at a primary care provider (internal medicine, family practice or urgent care) or a visit to the emergency department would be a good idea.
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Dr. Douglas Miller
Pathology 42 years experience
"Neuropathy" : "neuropathy" as a term is usually used to describe or label diseases of the peripheral nerves, so it is also often called "peripheral neuropathy" to emphasize that this is not a term to use to describe diseases of the brain or spinal cord. There are many types of peripheral neuropathy, and several ways to classify them, based on whether the major systems involved are those which provide nervous system input to muscles (motor neuropathies), those that are involved in sensation such as touch, pressure, heat, cold, pain, etc (sensory neuropathies), or those that are involved in control of involunatry functions such as maintenance of blood pressure, sweating, and bowel and bladder function. There are mixed neuropathies, pure motor neuropathies, pure sensory neuropathies, etc. Equally, there are classifications by cause (etiology), such as diabetic neuropathy (which is usually a sensory neuropathy but may involve motor problems or autonomic problems in some patients) or ischemic neuropathy (neuropathy caused by insufficient blood supply to some nerves). Some neuropathies have a genetic basis, others are acquired. Some are due to other diseases involving nerve secondarily, such as diseases in which the immune system attacks blood vessels, producing vasculitis, which then can produce ischemic neuropathy in the affected nerves. This often produces a clinical pattern called "mononeuropathy multiplex", meaning multiple nerves are involved one at at time with no pattern, whereas a lot of other types of neuropathy as I have described above are "polyneuropathies", involving multiple nerves usually in symmetric patterns, such as in what is called a "stocking and glove" distribution. So the causes are different, and some are identifiable and curable, others are not curable but are treatable, and some are difficult to treat. So this is a long answer to your main question about "what is neuropathy". Some of what you describe could be a peripheral polyneuropathy: tingling sensations in your hands and feet, feeling "drunk" which may mean your sense of where you are in space is not working well, leading to a feeling that you may fall. However as dr krob suggested "dizziness", swelling and water retention, and disorientation are not commonly associated with neuropathy and could suggest that you have a serious medical condition which needs prompt evaluation and treatment. Some of these might also cause neuropathy; so, to pick just one possibility (not to say you have this), there are diseases called "collagen vascular diseases" such as lupus which may damage the kidneys, producing water retention, swelling of the legs, feet, and hands, and this may also affect nerves by causing vasculitis, giving you the tingling and perhaps also the "feeling like i'm drunk". So see a physician, very soon.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Oct 15, 2016

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