In excess of anything can be risky as it can fall into addiction just like cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. Alcohol for one does not generally harm people who drink in moderation but it has bad effects for pregnant women. When alcohol is taken during pregnancy, it goes through the placenta then to the umbilical cord of the baby. So the baby catches the alcohol too. The liver of the baby is too little and cannot withstand its effect. Therefore, alcohol can bring the health of the baby into a serious condition.
As for adults, too much alcohol can damage the nerve tissues. Alcoholism is a condition that is manifested by losing control of drinking alcohol, which includes craving and becoming dependent on it. People can become vulnerable to drinking too much alcohol based on its availability in their area. It can also be due to the influence of other people that makes it difficult for another to get by. Some even say that alcoholism can be inherited. Whatever the case maybe alcoholism is a disorder and can lead to alcoholic neuropathy.
What is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is an illness caused by nerve damage in the peripheral nervous system. It is also termed as peripheral neuropathy since the destroyed part is the nerve axons. Diabetes is the most common cause of neuropathy. The nerves that are affected can be the sensory, motor or autonomic. Moreover, the known type of neuropathy is peripheral polyneuropathy where legs and feet are the distressed parts.
What is Alcoholic Neuropathy?
The job of the peripheral nerves is to send messages from the parts of the body to the spinal cord and brain. When the peripheral nerves are damaged by alcohol due to more than ten years of heavy drinking it is called alcoholic neuropathy. Vitamins B6, B12, E and Thiamin are essential nutrients for the nerves but with excessive alcohol drinking their effects are hampered.
Initially, the signs of alcoholic neuropathy are the numbness of the feet, legs and arms. It has a tingling, burning feeling. Eventually it can weaken the legs, which can cause uncoordinated steps particularly in walking followed by incoherence in speaking, memory gap, and other related symptoms.
The complexity of alcohol effect in the body results to alcoholic neuropathy when the nerves are ruined not only in the muscles, feet and legs but also in the gastrointestinal system and reproductive systems.
Other Symptoms of Alcoholic Neuropathy
Alcoholic neuropathy can affect the daily activities of a patient as it slows the movements especially of the arms and legs caused by numbness. The sensitivity of the senses is reduced as well because of the damaged nerves. Muscle cramps, pain and weakness can also be experienced. It results to the diminishing functions of the muscles. Urinary problems can occur as well as constipation and diarrhea. Other symptoms like impotence, swallowing problems, vomiting, dizziness and nausea are also likely to happen.
Causes of Alcoholic Neuropathy
It is not yet known what the real cause of alcoholic neuropathy is, but it can obviously be the long years of alcohol intake that eventually devastated the nerves. Alcohol potentially levels down the vitamins and nutrients of the body, which weakens the nerves. Alcohol basically acts as the toxins of the nerves. It is converted by the body into a simple sugar thus destroying the body’s power to balance glucose level.
Treatments of Alcoholic Neuropathy
To enhance the functions of the muscles, physical therapy is the best option. Orthopedic gadgets like splints for the arms or legs can also be used. Although patients can take medicines for pain like analgesics, there are also bed frames available to ease the pain in the feet. Taking food supplements and vitamins particularly thiamin and Vitamin B can help prevent alcoholic neuropathy. Improving the diet is encouraged to replenish the lost nutrients in the body with the guidance of a nutritionist. In effect, it will impede the symptoms of the illness.
Logically, learning how to avoid drinking alcohol is the best way to treat alcoholic neuropathy. Hence, the cause of the damage should be initially eliminated to prevent its spread.
Delays in the diagnosis can transpire if the symptoms slowly manifests. However, the medical history of a patient is very crucial in diagnosing the illness. One has to complete a physical examination to properly assess alcoholic neuropathy. Electromyography is used in the evaluation of the nervous system including the reflexes and coordination. Even the senses like the vision and hearing are covered by the tests.