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What Are the Different Types of Nervous System Damage?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Image By: J E Theriot
  • Last Modified Date: 13 July 2018
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Nervous system damage can take several forms, as there are three distinct parts of the nervous system. Damage involving the autonomic nervous system may lead to such symptoms as blood pressure irregularities, dizziness, or constipation. If the nervous system damage affects the sensory portion of the nervous system, the patient may feel tingling or numbness affecting various areas of the body. When the motor nerves are damaged, muscle weakness, paralysis, or twitching may occur. Any individualized questions or concerns about the various types of nervous system damage should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

The autonomic nervous system is responsible for controlling involuntary actions of the body, such as body temperature, digestion, and blood pressure. Damage to these nerves may lead to digestive disturbances, loss of bladder control, or dizziness when standing. Disease processes such as diabetes or chronic fatigue syndrome are among the possible causes of autonomic nervous system damage. Difficulty breathing or reproductive disorders with no other obvious causes may be related to damage involving these nerves.

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Sensory nervous system damage causes an interruption in the communication between the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms may include abnormal skin sensations such as burning, numbness, or tingling. Kidney failure, multiple sclerosis, and stroke are common causes of this type of nervous system damage. Recurrent headaches may sometimes be related damage to this part of the nervous system. In rare cases, hearing loss or a reduced ability to taste may be caused by an injury involving the sensory nerves.

Damage to the motor nerves may cause problems with movement. This occurs when there is a breakdown in communication between the brain or spinal cord and the muscles. Symptoms may include muscle twitching, weakness, or paralysis. Some of the potential causes of this form of nervous system damage include traumatic injury, Parkinson's disease, or the use of certain medications.

In many cases, damage to one part of the nervous system leads to problems that affect the entire nervous system. For instance, diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage caused by diabetes. In this condition, each part of the nervous system is affected in some way. The same is true of disease processes such multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, or in the case of a stroke. Diagnostic testing is usually needed in order to determine the extent of the nervous system damage so that an individualized treatment plan can be implemented.

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