28th December 2022
Large Fiber Neuropathy: Definition, Symptoms, and TreatmentDr. Devan Patel, PharmD
Peripheral neuropathy is a term to describe damage to the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system is a network of nerves that sends signals between your brain and spinal cords. These nerves are responsible for many bodily functions and sensations such as touch, pain sensation, motor function, and even regulating your heartbeat.
There are different forms of neuropathy. Which form of neuropathy you have will determine what kind of symptoms you experience, though oftentimes symptoms are overlapping. Large fiber neuropathy or, large fiber axonal neuropathy, describes nerve damage to the large fiber nerves in the peripheral nervous system.
Read on to learn more about large fiber neuropathy and how to treat it.
What Are the Different Types of Neuropathies?
There are many different forms of neuropathy with symptoms that vary depending on the type of nerves affected. There are 3 different types of nerves that can be affected by neuropathy: autonomic, motor, and sensory.
- Autonomic nerves control organs and bodily processes we are not consciously aware of. Examples include breathing, heartbeat, digestion, and gland function or sweating.
- Motor nerves affect body movement and muscle control such as walking, grasping things with your hands, or even talking.
- Sensory nerves are responsible for touch and feeling sensations. Examples of these sensations include pain (such as a paper cut) and temperature sensation (feeling hot or cold).
Neuropathy usually affects more than one different type of nerve cells and it’s not uncommon for people to have different types of neuropathies at once.
What Is Large Fiber Neuropathy?
Large fiber neuropathy is a type of peripheral neuropathy that affects the sensory nerves. The large fiber nerves are responsible for the sensation of proprioception (or the sensation of self-movement and force) and vibration.
What Are the Symptoms of Large Fiber Neuropathy?
Sensory nerves are responsible for a broad range of sensations. Sensory nerves are classified into two groups, large fiber, and small fiber. Large fiber sensory nerves control your ability to feel vibration and your perception of movement or force.
Large fiber neuropathy symptoms manifest as loss of feeling of vibration and touch, especially in the hands and feet. Damage to large fiber nerves can make you feel as if you are wearing socks or gloves, even when you’re not. It can also affect your ability to coordinate complex moves such as maintaining balance with your eyes closed, walking, or fastening buttons.
Other symptoms may include weakness or a sensation of pins and needles.
What Causes Large Fiber Neuropathy?
There can be many different causes of neuropathy ranging from physical injury to genetic diseases.
Diabetes is the number one cause of peripheral neuropathy in the United States. Statistics show that about half of all diabetics have neuropathy or will develop it in their lifetime. Most diabetics experience multiple neuropathies, or polyneuropathy, and experience symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and burning sensation in the hands and feet.
Injury is also a common cause of neuropathies. Traumatic injuries from car accidents, sports-related injuries, falls, or even medical procedures can crush, compress, or stretch nerves. Nerve damage can also occur through sustained repetitive motion (such as long-distance running or working in a factory) which places repeated pressure on certain nerves.
Autoimmune diseases attack healthy tissue in your body, including nerve cells. Autoimmune diseases that can cause neuropathy include Guillain-Barre syndrome, Lupus, and Sjogren syndrome. These diseases may directly attack nerve cells throughout the body.
Vascular diseases, such as hypertension, can decrease the flow of blood and oxygen that supplies the peripheral nerves. Without enough oxygen and nutrients, nerve cells won’t function properly and can become damaged.
Nutrient deficiencies, particularly vitamins B6 and B12, are linked to neuropathy. Nerve cells require certain nutrients to function at their best. When they don’t receive proper amounts of these nutrients, it can lead to nerve damage. Certain diseases, such as alcoholism, that can cause nutrient deficiencies are also linked to neuropathy.
Other Causes of Neuropathy
Other causes of neuropathy can include certain cancers, viral infections, chemotherapy treatments, certain medications, and hereditary neuropathies such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
How Do You Treat Large Fiber Neuropathy?
Neuropathy does not have a cure but there are many treatment methods that exist to reduce pain and symptoms.
Addressing the Cause
The first step in treating large fiber neuropathy is to address the cause. Many cases of neuropathy can be improved by fixing what is causing it. For example, treating nutrient deficiencies, controlling blood sugar (in those with diabetic neuropathy), refraining from certain physical activities, and making healthier lifestyle choices (such as not smoking, reducing weight, or eating healthier).
Prescription medications can be used to help relieve pain caused by neuropathy symptoms. Some of these medications include anti-depressants, anti-convulsant, and opioids.
Nutritional supplements may be helpful for neuropathies caused by nutrient deficiencies.* NeuraZenx is an all-natural supplement with ingredients chosen for their science-backed effectiveness in supporting nerve health.* By providing nerve cells with the adequate nutrients they need to function properly, they may be better able to repair themselves.* Nutritional supplements are a safe and effective way to support nerve health.*
Other Treatments for Neuropathy
Other treatments for neuropathy may include Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation (TENS) which uses a gentle electric current to stimulate damaged nerve cells. Surgery may be another option for neuropathy in severe cases.
The Bottom Line
Peripheral neuropathy is a common diagnosis that remains difficult to treat. Healthy lifestyle choices and regular treatment may help reduce neuropathy symptoms and allow you to lead a normal life. Talk to your doctor about the best course of treatment for you.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.