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Alternative namesPolyneuropathy - sensorimotor
DefinitionSensorimotor polyneuropathy is a condition involving decreased movement or sensation associated with nerve damage.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Sensorimotor polyneuropathy is a form of peripheral neuropathy (damage to nerves other than the brain or spinal cord). It is not a disorder itself but is occurs with disorders involving damage to multiple peripheral nerves (polyneuropathy).
This damage may include loss of the myelin sheath (the covering of the nerve cell), which slows conduction through the nerve. It may also include damage to the nerve cell itself, especially the axon portion of the cell, blocking conduction at the point of the damage.
The disorders that can cause sensorimotor polyneuropathy vary greatly, ranging from acute or chronic conditions to unknown causes. Possible causes of sensorimotor polyneuropathy alcoholic neuropathy , diabetic neuropathy , chronic inflammatory neuropathy, Guillain-Barre syndrome , and neuropathy secondary to drugs .
Signs and tests
A neuromuscular examination shows sensory and movement abnormalities. There is a slowly progressive pattern to the history of weakness or sensation changes. Sensation deficits usually occur in a symmetrical pattern and progress from distal (far) areas to proximal ( central ) locations.
Reflexes may be decreased or absent. Muscle weakness or paralysis of the affected area may be present. A muscle twitch ( fasciculations ) or muscle atrophy may be apparent.
The goals of treatment include treatment of the cause, if possible, supportive care to maximize self-care ability and independence, and control of symptoms.
For example, exercises and retraining may increase muscle strength and control. Appliances such as wheelchairs, braces, or splints may provide mobility or help support an extremity so that it can be used.
People with decreased sensation should check their feet (or other affected area) frequently for bruises, open skin areas, or other injury, which may go unnoticed and become severely infected.
If the cause of the sensorimotor polyneuropathy can be identified and successfully treated, and if the damage is limited to the axon or myelin sheath, leaving the cell body intact, there is a possibility of full recovery from peripheral neuropathy .
The extent of the disability varies (from no disability to partial or complete loss of movement , function, or sensation). Nerve pain may be quite uncomfortable and may persist for a prolonged period. Occasionally the disorder causes severe, life-threatening symptoms.
Calling your health care providerCall your health care provider if loss of movement or sensation of a part of the body occurs. Early diagnosis and treatment increase the chance of controlling the symptoms.
PreventionPrevention varies depending on the cause.
Update Date: 5/10/2002Elaine T. Kiriakopoulos, M.D., MSc, Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard University, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT