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Cause of peripheral neuropathy ?

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Last October, I began having neurological problems seemingly "out of the blue". My symptoms began with paresthesia in my right pinky and ring fingers on the finger on my left hand three days later. The sensations were intermittent and not severe at the time. A week after my initial symptoms I began experiencing sharp pains in my forearms (much like cramping) and shooting pains that ascended my right arm into the shoulder. Also, I was experience severe fatigue. At that point, I went to my GP and was referred to a neurologist. I was able to get into the neurologist three weeks after my symptoms began. At the time of the first visit, I also was having intermittent paresthesia in my legs and feet below the knees. In the next week, I had MRIs (with contrast) of my head and neck, EMG, and a full blood work-up including tests for Lyme Disease, HIV, Lupus, etc...which were all negative except the EMG confirmed both sensory and motor neuropathy in all four limbs and MRIs showed chronic sinusitis. Blood tests showed that the only slightly elevated values were blood glucose levels (102 mg/dL) and HbA1C (6.1) followed by arsenic at 56 ug/L. This was followed up with a 3 hr glucose test which was normal.

I was diagnosed with prediabetic neuropathy (which I don't believe my symptoms are consistent with) with a recommendation to control by blood sugar and exercise more (I has already running 4-5x a week before this all began). Also, I began taking multivitamins and flaxseed oil. I'm 30 years old, Caucasian, male, 6' 1" and weighed 235 lbs at the time (now I'm at 225 lbs) and have never had any major health problems including allergies until this occurred. After the diagnosis I began having fasciculations in my calves, feet, hands, face, neck and back intermittently. Additionally, I had intermittent bouts of vestibular problems (feeling off-balance), blurred vision primarily in my left eye, headaches, and extreme tension in my forehead and temple region where it felt like someone was pulling my skin from behind my ears. This continued throughout November and most of December before I started improving slowly. By March, my symptoms were all but gone except for chronic sinusitis.

Two weeks ago, I've had a relapse, albeit not nearly as severe as before. I have intermittent pain (cramping or dull pain) in my calves, feet, and forearms but really annoying paresthesia in across my face and head spanning several cranial nerves. I also have had some vestibular issues. Again these aren't as severe as before but are extremely annoying.

From all the research and reading I have done, my symptoms do not fit prediabetic neuropathy at all. I've come up with a couple of possibilities and would like anyone's opinion before I meet up with neurologist again in August. I've always been a bit of drinker averaging about 8 beers (never hard alcohol) usually once a week in a social setting since I was 20. I never drank at home. I've noticed that when I would even have a couple of beers, my symptoms would become noticeably worse when present but 2-3 days after drinking. Obviously, alcohol is toxic so I keep my alcohol consumption minimal (I haven't been intoxicated since November). Opinions that I could have alcoholic neuropathy even though I'm not a daily-consuming alcoholic? Second, I had my first two fillings (amalgam) put in in September three weeks before my initial symptoms began. Opinions on chemical posioning (mercury?). At the same time, I had a pretty nasty upper respiratory infection. Could this all be some weird post-viral syndrome?

I'm not looking for a diagnosis but some opinions and ideas that I can bring up with my doctors. Something obviously has happened to me last fall and I'm trying to figure out what that might be. Are these "flare-ups" something I'm going to have to continue to deal with it? Any recommended strategies to cope with the symptoms? I'm not currently on any medications.

Thanks in advance,

Matt
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replied July 18th, 2009
Matt,

You exercise regiment, weight loss and supplements sound pretty healthy and your glucose levels certainly don't seem high enough to cause concern - much less prediabetic neuropathy. I am not a physician, but I would have a hard time buying that diagnosis, also. The fillings are an interesting angle since heavy metals can certainly cause some strange neurological problems, but it doesn't make sense that it would abate and then return. I have been having my own share of odd neurological problems for about 18 months. Once I had all of the allopathic tests done to rule out any obvious tumors or diseases, I started thinking outside the box - if for nothing else, for something pallative that would treat my symptoms. A physician prescribing a drug to me that may or might not help that had potential side effects and further polluted my problem and body did not seem like a good solution. I found a NUCCA chiropractor that has made a world of difference. With the unusual nerve symptoms you are presenting, it might be worth looking into. If it doesn't solve your problems, it will certainly make you feel better while you continue your search. Good luck!

Leigh
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