There are many different kinds of nervous disorders and neuritis is one of them. In this particular nervous disorder, degenerative changes take place in one or more nerves as a result of any one of these three conditions: metabolic disturbance, mechanical damage, and toxic insult. The term mononeuritis is used when a single nerve is involved, while polyneuritis refers to neuritis in which many nerves are involved.
The symptoms of neuritis correspond to the various types of nerve fibers injured. In usual cases, neuritis sufferers experience symptoms associated with damage to sensory fibers. These include tingling and burning sensations, sharp pains, and numbness. In conditions when motor fibers in a nerve are involved, there develops weakness of the muscles which may lead to degeneration and total loss of functions of the muscles.
In neuritis in which the autonomic nerve fibers are involved, symptoms such as skin lesions, an increase in skin temperature in the affected area, and sweating occur. Still in other cases of neuritis, there could be dryness and paleness of the skin.
In neuritis resulting from metabolic disturbance of the nerve tissue, the damage is usually to many nerves (polyneuritis). This specific type of neuritis occurs when a person’s diet consistently lacks certain B vitamins. Two pertinent conditions must be mentioned here: beriberi (deficiency in thiamine) and pellagra (deficiency in niacin). A third condition – alcoholism – causes B vitamin deficiency; here, the chronic alcoholic obtains much of his energy from calories in the alcohol, and hence does not eat enough of the thiamine-containing foods.
Neuritis brought about by mechanical damage to the nerve is usually the result of bone fractures or crushing injuries. This particular nervous disorder may be caused by long-continued pressure against a nerve. In this condition, the affected individual experiences a distortion of nerve functions. An example of this is when an arm or a leg “goes to sleep” as a result of prolonged local pressure.
Toxic insults to the nerves which cause neuritis include toxic conditions from certain diseases, in which toxin from the germs damages certain nerves. Diphtheria is one example of such disease. Chemicals such as lead, mercury, and benzine can likewise damage nerve tissue; those who are exposed to these chemicals in excess are liable to develop symptoms of polyneuritis.
Eliminating the cause of the damage to the nerves is foremost in the treatment of neuritis. Recovery may be prompt in mild cases of this nervous disorder once the cause is eliminated. But in severe cases of neuritis, the nerve’s normal function may never be fully restored. A good diet coupled with high intake of vitamins may help in the recovery process.
1. “Neuritis Information – Causes, Symptom, Cure, Treatment of Neuritis” – http://www.diseasesatoz.com/neuritis.htm
2. “What is Neuritis?” from wiseGEEK – http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-neuritis.htm