In this section we shall discuss neuropathies. This is a vast topic and I shall try to make it simple. First lets start with the basics. What is neuropathy? Neuropathy refers to disease and dysfunction of the nerves. There are different types of nerves in the human body: some nerves supply the muscles of the head, face and neck example the facial nerve supplies the muscles of the face ( it is this nerve which helps you to smile or frown). Another example is the auditory nerve which helps you to hear. These nerves which supply the muscles of the head and face are referred to as Cranial Nerves.
Apart from the cranial nerves there are other nerves which supply the muscles of the arms and legs and carry sensations of pain, temperature, pressure, joint sense, vibration and light touch. As these nerves supply the muscles in the periphery of the body they are referred to as peripheral nerves. Peripheral nerves are of three types:
1) Motor nerves : nerves which carry out motor functions example closing and unclosing your fist , walking etc
2) Sensory nerves: nerves which carry sensation of pain, temperature, touch, joint sense, vibration and position sense from the periphery back to the brain.
3) Mixed nerves: nerves which carry out both the above functions.
Neuropathies can thus be of different types based on which type of nerve is involved by the disease process. So you can have a motor neuropathy, a sensory neuropathy and a mixed motor-sensory neuropathy.
Another way to classify neuropathies is on the basis of the size of the nerve fibers involved. Pain, temperature and crude touch is carried by small sized nerve fibers and hence neuropathy of the small sized sensory nerves is referred to as small fiber neuropathy. Vibration, position sense and joint sense are carried by larger diameter nerve fibers and hence neuropathy of larger diameter nerve fibers is referred to as large fiber neuropathy.
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