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Metabolic neuropathies

  • Definition

    Metabolic neuropathies are nerve disorders that occur with diseases that disrupt the chemical processes in the body.

    See also: Alcoholic neuropathy; Diabetic neuropathy


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    In some cases, nerve damage is caused by the inability to properly use energy in the body -- often due to a nutritional deficiency. In other cases, dangerous substances (toxins) build up in the body and damage nerves.

    Diabetes is one of the most common causes of metabolic neuropathies. People who are at the highest risk of nerve damage from diabetes include:

    • Those with damage to the kidneys or eyes
    • Those with poorly controlled blood sugar

    Other common metabolic causes of neuropathies include:

    • Alcoholism
    • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
    • Kidney failure
    • Porphyria
    • Severe infection throughout the body (sepsis)
    • Thyroid disease
    • Vitamin deficiencies (including vitamins B-12, E, and B-1)

    Some metabolic disorders are passed down through families (inherited), while others develop due to various diseases.