10 Common Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy You Shouldn’t Ignore

Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy tissues and cells in the body leading to damage in the nerve tissues and resulting in acute or chronic neuropathy. Just like diabetes, such damage can cause injuries to the nerves. These injuries keep the blood vessels from working correctly and carrying oxygen and other essential nutrients to the designated peripheral nerves.

Some autoimmune diseases that may potentially cause different types of autoimmune neuropathies are multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Sjörgren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), scleroderma, psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, and paraneoplastic disorders. 

The resulting autoimmune neuropathy can be diagnosed either through the detection of autoantibodies or the detection of symptoms. Though the overlapping symptoms make diagnosis difficult, initial testing for a presumptive diagnosis considers underlying etiologies and apparent signs. These signs include subacute progression, asymmetric or multifocal deficits, paresthesia, tingling, numbness, allodynia, intermittent and burning pain, muscle weakness, paralysis, selective involvement of motor, sensory, or autonomic nerves, and organ or gland dysfunction. In extreme cases, breathing may become difficult, and organs may fail, which could be life-threatening.