Neuropathy — the most common disorder of the peripheral nervous system — refers to a large and complex group of nerve diseases. Neuropathies can be categorized by symptoms, such as:

  • Weakness
  • Changes in sensation, such as numbness or burning
  • Muscular deterioration (atrophy)
  • Changes in skin color or texture

Diagnosis may be refined by noting the areas most affected or by recognizing the neuropathy as a complication of another disease. Examples include:

  • Neuropathies associated with medications, such as some cancer treatments (chemotherapy)
  • Neuropathies that are inherited (genetic), such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
  • Neuropathies following injury to a specific nerve or nerve root, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or sciatica
  • Neuropathies associated with a specific disease, such as diabetes or HIV
  • Neuropathies related to poor circulation, as occurs occasionally if you have a shunt in your arm for dialysis

Neuropathies may also be characterized by their time course:

  • Acute. Sudden onset of symptoms, such as trauma with direct nerve injury
  • Subacute. Symptoms evolving over days or weeks, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), paraneoplastic (cancer-related) neuropathies, and chemotherapy-related toxic neuropathies
  • Chronic. Symptoms evolving slowly over months or years, such as hereditary neuropathies, motor neuron disease, and diabetic neuropathy
  • Relapsing. Symptoms that return after remission, such as chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and hereditary pressure-induced neuropathy

We can help

The Mount Sinai Health System is highly experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of neuropathy. We have expert neurologists specializing in neuromuscular disorders and laboratory facilities readily available for clinical evaluative testing. We also provide nerve conduction studies, needle electromyography, and skin biopsies to analyze small nerve fibers.

Mount Sinai offers high-quality musculoskeletal radiology as well as nerve and muscle biopsy, using the most advanced techniques and technology. Rehabilitation clinicians are also important members of our team, as are genetic counselors.

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