How are the peripheral neuropathies classified?
More than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy have been identified, each with its own characteristic set of symptoms, pattern of development, and prognosis. Impaired function and symptoms depend on the type of nerves-motor, sensory, or autonomic-that are damaged. Motor nerves control movements of all muscles under conscious control, such as those used for walking, grasping things, or talking. Sensory nerves transmit information about sensory experiences, such as the feeling of a light touch or the pain resulting from a cut. Autonomic nerves regulate biological activities that people do not control consciously, such as breathing, digesting food, and heart and gland functions. Although some neuropathies may affect all three types of nerves, others primarily affect one or two types. Therefore, doctors may use terms such as predominantly motor neuropathy, predominantly sensory neuropathy, sensory-motor neuropathy, or autonomic neuropathy to describe a patient's condition.
Adapted with permission from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history.
Last updated August 5, 2014