This is a common question of patients I consult with. While diabetes is the most well known cause of diabetes, it is only one of many conditions that can damage nerves and cause neuropathy. Here are a few of the more common causes I find in the patients I have worked with.
If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and your tummy is getting wider than your hips (apple shape), then you have insulin resistance (also called Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X). Your body has stopped responding to its insulin as it should. This is a pre-diabetic condition and sometimes, before you have blood sugar changes, you can get the neuropathy first.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure just by itself can sometimes cause neuropathy and obesity by itself can cause neuropathy.
The statin drugs used to control high cholesterol can cause neuropathy in some people. They can also cause muscle pains in other people. Going off the drug does not stop the neuropathy symptoms once the damage is done, because the nerve is already damaged.
Low thyroid function (hypothyroidism), kidney disease, and adrenal gland disease are also culprits. Lyme disease can cause neuropathy. Celiac disease and B vitamin deficiency are also common causes of neuropathy.
If your parents, grandparents, or siblings have neuropathy, it may be inherited.
Spinal stenosis, disc bulges or herniations, severe spinal arthritis can all compress the nerves that run your arms or legs. The compression of the nerve can cause neuropathy.
Another “hidden” cause can be if you drink a lot of diet sodas or eat a lot of foods with nutrasweet or aspartame in them. This substance is a neurotoxin that can cause neuropathy in some people. People who are already at risk for neuropathy because of being overweight may cause themselves more damage from ingesting this “sugar substitute”.
Of course there are other less common causes of neuropathy from various drug reactions, diseases and inherited or genetic conditions. But the list in this newsletter covers the most common causes I have seen in my practice.
Because we all have the right to have more than one thing wrong with us at a time, most of my patients have several of these conditions that may be contributing to their neuropathy.
Depending on the causes of your neuropathy, our approach to treating your condition is tailored to your individual needs. If you would like more information about treatments or natural ways to address any of these conditions, simply call the office for a consult with Dr. Ellen at