What is Neuropathy?

Without our nerves, we couldn’t live. Nerves act like the body’s electrical wiring and connect the brain to every part of the body. They allow us to move and feel sensations. They even protect the body by transmitting pain. Some nerves control vital functions which take place within the body such as the heartbeat, digestion, breathing, swallowing and perspiration.

The nervous system is categorized into two: the central nervous system, which connects the brain to the spinal cord, muscles and internal organs; and the peripheral nervous system, which consists of nerves that extend to every part of the body, right to the end of your fingers and toes.

If you ever feel tingling or numbness in your hands or feet, you may have nerve problems. When the nerves become damaged, they are no longer communicating well with the parts they are connected to. Medically, this is known as neuropathy.

Our enjoyment of life would be impaired if our nerves were to become damaged in some way. Depending on which nerves are involved, our ability to sense things, freedom of movement, dexterity and basic body functions may become affected. Nerve damage often also causes unpleasant sensations which can range from impaired sensitivity and numbness to outright pain that simply refuses to go away. That is why we need to look after our nerves and be aware of the risk factors that can lead to nerve damage, which is medically referred to as peripheral neuropathy.

Read more about the risk factors of neuropathy, click here.

The information contained in this article is not intended or designed to diagnose, prevent, treat or provide a cure for any condition or disease, to ascertain the state of your health or be substituted for medical care. Merck encourages you to seek advice from your doctor or healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns arising from the information in this article.

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