Metabolic neuropathies

Definition of Metabolic neuropathies

Metabolic neuropathies are nerve disorders that occur with diseases that disrupt the chemical processes in the body.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

In some cases, nerve damage is caused by the inability to properly use energy in the body — often due to a nutritional deficiency. In other cases, dangerous substances (toxins) build up in the body and damage nerves.


These symptoms occur because nerves cannot send proper signals to and from your brain:

Signs and tests

An exam may show:


For most metabolic neuropathies, the best treatment is to correct the metabolic problem.

Expectations (prognosis)

The outlook mainly depends on the cause of the disorder. In some cases, the problem can easily be treated. In other cases, the metabolic problem cannot be controlled and nerves may continue to become damaged.


David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, and Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 2/6/2010

Central nervous system

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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