Alcoholic neuropathy is a condition in which individuals experience nerve damage in their feet due to prolonged use of alcoholic beverages. Ethanol, the alcoholic component in drinks like beer, wine, and spirits, is toxic to nerve tissue. This toxicity can cause the nerves in the feet and hands to become damaged over time, resulting in the same loss of sensation as in diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Unfortunately, the damage caused by alcoholic neuropathy can be permanent, which is why individuals with this condition need to take precautions similar to those with diabetic neuropathy.
Individuals with alcoholic neuropathy experience numbness, tingling or burning sensations in their feet, which can progress up their leg. They may also experience muscle weakness, cramps, or spasms. These symptoms make it difficult for those with alcoholic neuropathy to walk or perform daily activities that require feeling in their feet.
One potential course of treatment for alcoholic neuropathy is Vitamin B-12 injections, which can help strengthen nerves and reduce their level of discomfort. Along with B-12 injections, individuals may also take certain oral medications to ease any pain caused by neuropathy. Two topical ointments that may help alleviate symptoms are capsaicin and lidocaine. Capsaicin is derived from chili peppers and is applied to the skin to reduce pain. Lidocaine is a local anaesthetic that is used to numb the skin. Magnet therapy and galvanic stimulation (the therapeutic use of electric current) may also be used as part of the treatment. It is important to talk to your doctor and work with them to determine the most effective course of treatment for managing your symptoms.
It’s crucial for individuals with alcoholic neuropathy to take precautions, such as wearing shoes that fit well and do not put excess pressure on their feet, examining their feet regularly, and visiting their podiatrist for regular checkups. You may also be advised to visit a neurologist if your symptoms worsen.
It’s worth noting that another form of peripheral neuropathy occurs due to exposure to toxins such as pesticides or heavy metals. Exposure to toxins can be equally detrimental to a person’s health, resulting in nerve damage that can be permanent. Since this type of neuropathy isn’t limited to alcohol abuse, it is important for everyone to be aware of their exposure to toxins and take necessary precautions to minimize their risk.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms associated with alcoholic neuropathy, we recommend seeking professional medical advice from Dr Gilbert Huang DPM. If left untreated, neuropathy can cause nerve damage that is irreversible. It’s essential to diagnose the condition early so that the appropriate course of treatment can be initiated to manage symptoms and slow the progression of the condition.
In summary, alcoholic neuropathy is a nerve loss condition caused due to the prolonged use of alcoholic beverages. It is important for individuals with alcoholic neuropathy to see a doctor promptly and follow recommended guidelines for managing the condition. The damage caused is permanent, so early diagnosis and treatment can make a significant difference in slowing the progression of the condition.