It is not uncommon for Lupus to cause symptoms in the nervous system. The nervous system includes the brain and spinal cord and the muscles and peripheral nerves (the nerves in other parts of the body, such as the hands and feet). Any part of that system can be involved in lupus. When a lupus-related problem affects the nervous system, it is called a neurological complication. Peripheral neuropathy is a problem with the nerves that carry information to and from the brain and spinal cord. This produces pain, loss of sensation, and inability to control muscles.
About 50% to 90% of people with lupus have some neuropsychiatric symptoms at one time or another. Most have relatively mild problems such as anxiety, headaches, or a little bit of confusion. But some have significant neurological complications.
Lupus can have a direct - primary - affect on the nervous system. Autoantibodies may attack nerve cells. This is associated with the development of encephalopathy (which simply means "brain not working well"). This condition can cause psychosis. The symptoms are confusion, disorientation, and agitation.
But remember that these are the same symptoms that can be caused by infection, medications, and the medical or psychiatric problems that also occur in lupus. These symptoms also can be caused by seizures that sometimes occur in lupus. However, even when we eliminate the secondary problems, there is still a small group of people who have encephalopathy.
Complications of other medical problems caused by lupus, such as kidney or liver disease, can cause neurological symptoms.
The treatment for peripheral neuropathy depends on its cause. The first step in treatment is, therefore, to look for the cause.
* Vitamin deficiencies can be corrected.
* Diabetes can be controlled, although control may not reverse the neuropathy. The goal with diabetes is early detection to prevent the occurrence of neuropathy.
*Neuropathies that are associated with immune diseases can improve with treatment of the autoimmune disease.
*Neuropathy caused by nerve entrapment can be treated by physical therapy, injections or surgery.
Prompt treatment with sympathetic injections can minimize the chance of shingles progressing to post herpetic neuralgia.
I hope that this information has been helpful to you. Please let me know if you need anything further.
Peace and Blessings
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