Alcoholic Neuropathy: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments

The amount of ethanol which causes clinically evident peripheral neuropathy is also still unknown. Alcohol abuse affects the peripheral and the central nervous system adversely. A common adverse effect of chronic alcohol consumption is alcohol neuropathy. We do not know precisely how many people are affected by alcohol neuropathy, but research has shown that at least 66% of chronic alcohol abusers may have some form of neuropathy. Neuropathy has multifactorial causes, ranging from nutritional deficiencies to the toxic effects that alcohol has on neurons. Because of the many effects that alcohol has on the organism, it is important that patients with alcoholic neuropathy be managed by a team of inter-professionals in the health industry.


why does alcohol cause neuropathy

The main symptom was a pain, which was excruciating at times, but which could wax and wane. Other noted signs of the neurotoxic effect were disturbances to the cardiovascular system and the gastrointestinal tract. A restricted or poor diet or health problems such as Crohn’s disease are some reasons you may not get enough vitamins.

Alcohol Consumption as a Causator and/or an Accelerator of Neuropathy in People With Diabetes Is Regularly Overlooked

  • Although the clinical and animal studies have focused on nutritional deficiency, biochemical studies provide evidence that alcohol may affect thiamine utilization rather than cause thiamine deficiency.
  • One of the tests was 24 h Holter monitoring, which evaluated short-term heart rate variability, showing a significant difference and an incidence of severe autonomic dysfunction in 56% of the patients (chronic alcohol users), (Milovanovic et al., 2009).

Due to similar histologic and electrophysiological symptoms, it was believed that ALN may make up a subtype of beriberi [146]. Further research has confirmed the role of thiamine in the pathogenesis of ALN—the well-balanced diet and vitamin B1 supplementation significantly decreased the severity of ALN symptoms [147, 148]. However, the limitations of those studies include the lack of the possibility to measure the amount of vitamin B1 in the serum; further, patients who were involved in the study have received an unrefined form of the supplement.

Total number of myelinated axons from sciatic nerve (Naxons)

  • The alcohol will continue to circulate in the bloodstream and eventually affect other organs.
  • Treatment for this condition starts with helping you reduce your alcohol intake or stop drinking entirely.
  • You may also benefit from a support group to help you reduce your drinking or completely quit drinking alcohol.
  • In addition, nutritional deficiencies, particularly of thiamine, and/or the direct toxic effect of alcohol and its metabolites (particularly acetaldehyde) on the nerve may play a role [7].

The main symptoms of ALN include dysesthesia, paresthesia, numbness, and pain in the lower extremities which progressively reach higher parts of the body [114,115,116,117]. The pain is described as burning, cramp-like, or itching; also, a common symptom is a subjective feeling of cold in both feet [118,119,120,121,122,123]. The symptoms deteriorate through touch and pressure alcohol neuropathy stages which intensify pain while standing or walking [124]. Further progression of ALN leads to the weakening of tendon reflexes or total areflexia and disturbed proprioception, which additionally impair the ability to walk [28, 113]. ALN further manifests as weakness and atrophy of muscles due to the damage of greater motor fibers and impaired neuromuscular transmission.

Related MedlinePlus Health Topics

To diagnose this condition, healthcare providers will typically use several of the following methods. Changes in your heart’s shape can also disrupt that organ’s electrical system. An electrical current travels through your entire heart with every heartbeat, causing each part of the heart to squeeze in a specific sequence.

Aubagio: Side effects and what to do about them – Medical News Today

Aubagio: Side effects and what to do about them.

Posted: Thu, 26 Aug 2021 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Manage underlying conditions

  • In this phase of our study we used male rats, but it is our intention to analyze this process with females as well, providing the oestrous cycle variable can be included.
  • These functions are achieved by PKC mediated phosphorylation of other proteins [16].
  • You might look for a support group specifically for alcoholic neuropathy or for people coping with chronic pain.
  • Researchers separated out a group of patients who took their medication for at least a full 120 days, to make sure the difference couldn’t be chalked up to one group being more adherent than the other.

So why is it so hard to know whether alcohol is good or bad for us—especially for our brains? In this post, we’ll explore the current science and some practical ideas on how to approach the topic. Articles having medical content shall serve exclusively for the purpose of general information.

Weakening in the muscles around the ventricles means they can’t pump as hard, which negatively affects your entire body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines heavy alcohol use — also known as heavy drinking — as more than eight drinks per week for women and more than 15 drinks per week for men. One drink is equal to 14 grams of pure alcohol, which can take many different forms because some forms have a higher concentration of alcohol than others. When you ingest alcohol, your kidneys’ filtering abilities are affected, as is the way the organs handle electrolytes like potassium and sodium. This leads to an increase of water in your body after a bout of drinking that can present itself as swollen feet and hands.

This could lead to disability, chronic pain, and damage to your arms and legs. However, if caught early enough, you can minimize the damage from alcoholic neuropathy. Avoiding alcohol and improving your diet can sometimes lead to a moderate to full recovery. Our muscles need to receive a message from nearby nerves in order to function. When this message is interrupted due to damaged nerves, the muscles cannot function as they normally would.

High total lifetime alcohol consumption

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *