Alcohol has been around since the beginning of recorded history. Naturally, as with any drug, over-use of alcohol has been around just as long. Recent years and advances in technology have now allowed us to recognize the dangers of alcohol neuropathy and provide ways to avoid and treat it.
Chronic alcohol abuse is the main cause of this problem, both through direct damage to the nervous system as well as nutritional issues that come from alcohol hampering the body’s ability to absorb nutrients properly. People who have been drinking heavily for more than 10 years are especially susceptible. Those with diabetes, or who have kidney or liver disease are at an even higher risk.
Symptoms can sometimes take a while to manifest. The most common parts of the body for symptoms to occur are the legs and the arms. Numbness, tingling, cramps, weakness, and pain in the muscles are all likely signs. Other indicators include impaired coordination, heat intolerance, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and incontinence. If left unchecked, then the damage can become permanent. Serious symptoms may include loss of consciousness, fainting spells, and sever pain, weakness, or motor control problems in the muscles. Severe side effects can leave a sufferer impotent or even result in permanent muscle damage or speech impairment.
Treatments for alcohol neuropathy range from preventative measures to alleviating the symptoms. Vitamin B and other multivitamin supplements can help to offset the damage caused to nerves by providing the necessary nutrition for their continued health. Limiting alcohol consumption and eating healthy will also help. If the symptoms start to become impairing, then pain medications can be used, though these can present the problem of a possible addiction if used improperly. Upon showing any of the signs of nerve damage, the first thing a person should do is to see their doctor in order to confirm that the problems stem from nerve damage as opposed to another condition. From there a doctor can prescribe the correct course of action to take in dealing with the symptoms and preventing serious, long-term damage.
If the symptoms of alcohol neuropathy become serious, then immediate medical care should be sought out. Serious symptoms may include loss of bladder control, intense weakness or muscle spasms, and speech problems. If not treated, alcoholic neuropathy could cause one to suffer a permanent disability, which will affect quality of his or her life and overall health. Ultimately, however, only stopping drinking completely will prevent further development.