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Peripheral neuropathy describes damage to the peripheral nervous system, which transmits information from the brain and spinal cord to every other part of the body. More than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy have been identified, and 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.
It is the communications network that transmits information from the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system) to every other part of the body.
It sends sensory information back to the brain and spinal cord, such as a message that the feet are cold or a finger is burned.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. www.ninds.nih.gov
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