Causes of peripheral neuropathy

There are over 100 types of peripheral neuropathy known today, and diabetic neuropathy is just one of them. So, what can cause peripheral neuropathy besides complications stemming from diabetes? 

Many different conditions can lead to a patient developing some form of peripheral neuropathy — recognizing your risk factors may help you avoid or combat peripheral neuropathy before it has a chance to become too advanced.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy, symptoms you should watch out for, and some frequently asked questions about the causes of neuropathy.

What is peripheral neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that occurs to the peripheral nervous system or any nerves that are located outside of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nerves send information from your body to your central nervous system and are responsible for controlling your senses, among other things.

Peripheral neuropathy is often categorized into three different types: sensory neuropathy, motor neuropathy, and autonomic neuropathy. It can also be classified depending on how many nerves are affected. If only one nerve or one type of nerve is damaged, this is known as mononeuropathy. More commonly, many different nerves are damaged. This condition is called multiple mononeuropathy or polyneuropathy.

What can cause peripheral neuropathy? The main culprits behind the condition

Peripheral neuropathy can be caused by a variety of factors, such as:

  • Diabetes

Diabetes is the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy is a direct result of uncontrolled blood sugar levels, which can occur if a diabetic patient has extremely high blood sugar too often.

  • Autoimmune diseases

Diseases such as Sjögren’s syndrome, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and psoriasis are often linked to peripheral neuropathy. Some autoimmune diseases attack nerves directly, while others indirectly lead to nerve damage.

  • Infection

Some bacterial or viral infections can attack the nerve cells directly. Some common infections linked to peripheral neuropathy include Lyme disease, leprosy, HIV, West Nile virus, and more.

Drug-induced peripheral neuropathy can cause irreparable damage to nerves and the peripheral nervous system. Recreational drug use may also lead to vitamin deficiencies, which is another notable cause of peripheral neuropathy.

  • Toxic substances

Some chemicals, poisons, and other substances, such as lead or mercury, may cause nerve damage if not handled properly.

  • Medications

Chemotherapy and certain other medications can damage nerves and lead to peripheral neuropathy diagnosis.

  • Trauma or injury

Physical injuries such as those sustained in sports or vehicle accidents may damage or destroy nerves. Repetitive motions may also pinch, damage, or severe peripheral nerves.

  • Tumors

Whether malignant or benign, tumors can cause neuropathy if they develop or press on a nerve, thus cutting off blood circulation.

Common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, you may be wondering what kind of symptoms to expect. Does peripheral neuropathy cause muscle cramps? Can it interfere with breathing? What are the most common neuropathy-related health problems?

Here are some symptoms that you can expect to experience if you have neuropathy:

  • Muscle or limb weakness
  • Numbness, tingling, or a “pins-and-needles” sensation, especially in the feet and legs
  • Burning, shooting, or stabbing pain
  • Hypersensitivity to pressure or temperature
  • Loss of balance and coordination

Some forms of peripheral neuropathy can also affect body functions, such as digestion, perspiration, breathing, and urination, and can also cause sexual dysfunction.


Can anxiety cause peripheral neuropathy?

No. Peripheral neuropathy is caused by factors that directly damage nerves. While anxiety, depression, stress, and other mental struggles may make it more difficult to manage neuropathy symptoms, they are not directly responsible for a neuropathy diagnosis. However, high levels of anxiety may cause neuropathy-like symptoms, such as tingling, muscle cramps, burning sensations, and more.

Can stress cause peripheral neuropathy?

No. Feeling stressed cannot damage your nerves and, therefore, doesn’t cause peripheral neuropathy. However, stress still plays a role when it comes to managing neuropathic symptoms.

Can high blood pressure cause peripheral neuropathy?

Yes. High blood pressure can lead to peripheral neuropathy and is one of the primary causes of certain types of neuropathy, such as diabetic peripheral neuropathy. High blood pressure can decrease blood circulation and oxygen supply, which can lead to nerve damage and nerve death.

Can Lisinopril cause peripheral neuropathy?

Perhaps Lisinopril may or may not be linked to the development of peripheral neuropathy — more research is needed. It is used to treat high blood pressure, which is already a leading contributor to peripheral neuropathy. Lisinopril works by relaxing blood vessels, lowering blood pressure, and increasing blood and oxygen supply.

Can Zoloft cause peripheral neuropathy?

Yes. Zoloft is an antidepressant that may play a role in the development of peripheral neuropathy. Studies have shown that psychotropic drugs, chemotherapy drugs, and other medications can have a role in contributing to drug-induced peripheral neuropathy.

Can statins cause peripheral neuropathy?

Yes. Statins are commonly used for lowering cholesterol and have been shown to slightly increase the risk of peripheral neuropathy.

Can weightlifting cause peripheral neuropathy?

Yes. Certain traumas or injuries can lead to compressed or pinched nerves, which is one of the main causes of peripheral neuropathy. Damage is most likely to occur in those who lift overly heavy weights or don’t lift with proper technique.

Can alcohol cause peripheral neuropathy?

Yes. Alcoholic neuropathy is one of the more common types of neuropathy and is caused by excessive or long-term alcohol consumption. Alcoholism can lead to vitamin deficiencies, malnutrition, and nerve damage, all of which can result in peripheral neuropathy.

Easy pain management for peripheral neuropathy

Whether you or a loved one have been diagnosed with neuropathy, are living with diabetes or another potential trigger of peripheral neuropathy, understanding your pain management options is essential to enjoying a high-quality life. While many types of peripheral neuropathy aren’t curable, it is possible to combat pain and other symptoms so that you can live your life to the fullest.

A high-quality and comfortable pair of diabetic socks is one must-have item for anyone living with neuropathy. Diabetic socks are specially designed to help support and protect feet affected by neuropathy, and Viasox diabetic socks take it one step further. Our socks are made from lightweight, super-stretchy antibacterial materials for even greater protection and comfort.

Shop online at Viasox to discover must-have diabetic socks designed with your comfort in mind

Whether you are searching for the perfect pair of compression socks or need to buy non-binding diabetic socks in bulk, our team at Viasox can help. We’re proud to produce some of the finest diabetic socks in North America, ideal for anyone struggling with diabetes, neuropathy, foot injuries, foot problems, or just wanting a great pair of socks.

Shop our online selection today to find fun and funky socks that will add a bit of style to your wardrobe. Want something classic? We’ve got that, too. Even better, all of our diabetic socks are designed to be super stretchy, ensuring that they can fit most calf sizes and remain comfortable.

For more information about our products, visit our site or reach out to one of our friendly representatives today.

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