Alcoholic neuropathy

What is alcoholic neuropathy?

Between 10% and 50% of alcoholics develop alcoholic neuropathy though in many it is asymptomatic.

Usually it develops in alcoholics with prolonged and severe (>100 g/day) alcohol use.

As a result, it is difficult to distinguish the direct effects of alcohol from the secondary effects of chronic malnutrition.

Clinically, alcoholic neuropathy presents with dull aching or burning in the feet, hyperesthesia and/or sensory loss, distal hyporeflexia, and thin muscles with mild weakness in the feet sometimes with associated autonomic symptoms.

Electromyography/nerve conduction velocity (EMG/NCV) would show a length-dependent axonal neuropathy.

Symptoms can slowly improve with reduced alcohol intake and a balanced diet.

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