Some people with Celiac disease may experience peripheral neuropathy, among the many other symptoms that are possible. Not all neurologists will necessarily think of celiac disease as a possible cause so it is helpful if you understand this.
Peripheral neuropathy is the medical term for damage to the peripheral nervous system, in other words, the system of nerves connecting the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body: arms, fingers, toes, feet etc. When these connections are damaged, symptoms vary from loss of sensation or pain through to inability to control muscles.There are many causes for this condition, including:
- Hereditary disorders
- Infections or autoimmune diseases
- Celiac disease
- Protein abnormalities
- Compression or physical trauma
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Poor nutrition
- Kidney failure
- Chronic alcoholism
- Certain medications
- Direct injury to a nerve
That celiac disease is part of this list comes as no surprise: it is a form of autoimmune disease. It can also be a factor in causing diabetes and poor nutrition despite eating well.
In cases where the cause of the disorder is unknown, it is called idiopathic neuropathy. Although general awareness of celiac disease is increasing, if you are diagnoses as idiopathic, you may want to investigate celiac disease as a possible cause.
Celiac disease is a genetic condition that is triggered by eating gluten, which can be found in wheat, oats, barely and rye. The classic symptoms are intestine-related: gas, diarrhea, generally feeling poorly, and evidence of poor nutrient absorption such as anemia.
Not everyone with celiac disease has the classic symptoms, and these may appear after other celiac disease symptoms show up, which makes diagnosis much harder.
It is possible that signs of peripheral neuropathy may appear before gastrointestinal symptoms.
If you have idiopathic neuropathy, talk to your doctor about testing for celiac disease.
What are your experiences with peripheral neuropathy and celiac disease? Please leave a comment and share your experiences.