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Phoenix, AZ 85018

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Small Fiber Peripheral Neuropathy (SFN)

SFN Symptoms | Causes of SFN | SFN Treatment | SFN Cure

Small fiber peripheral neuropathy is a type of peripheral neuropathy. It is also called small fiber neuropathy, small fiber sensory neuropathy (SFSN), and C fiber neuropathy. Small nerve fibers are the nerve fibers near the skin's surface which created problems with touch, pain, temperature, etc. which is why the symptoms deal with sensation. Usually the symptoms start in the feet and lower legs, although they may begin in the torso or face.

Until relatively recently, this has been a disorder diagnosed mainly by excluding other possibilities. Electromyography (EMG ), a test which is good at diagnosing most forms of neuropathy, is normal in people with small fiber neuropathies. Currently, the small nerve fibers in the skin can be analyzed by means of a simple procedure called a skin biopsy. Sometimes the disorder is caused by diabetes, but, in many patients, no specific cause is identified and the syndrome is termed “idiopathic.”

SFN Symptoms

Small-fiber neuropathy (SFN) is a peripheral nerve disease that causes tingling, numbness and pain. People describe the pain as an ice pick being poked into bone, like an electric shock, or walking on broken glass. SFN does not conform to the typical stocking-glove distribution, and may even involve the face or the trunk.

SFN Cause

Small fiber neuropathies can be caused by disorders of metabolism such as diabetes, chronic infections (such as human immunodeficiency virus), genetic abnormalities, toxicity from various drugs, and autoimmune diseases. The cause, however, often remains a mystery. As more research has been developed over the past couple of years, it has become clear that Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT) is a frequent cause for small fiber neuropathies.

SFN Treatment

There is no current treatment to cure small fiber peripheral neuropathy. For forms caused by diabetes or toxins, treatment of these underlying condition may reduce progression of the disease and its symptoms. For most cases, treatment is limited to attempts to decrease pain. Antiseizure or antidepressant medications, narcotics or even nutritional supplements may be beneficial. However, the ability diagnosis patients with SFN with a relatively non-invasive skin biopsy has opened up this area to research.

SFN Cure

There is no current treatment to cure small fiber peripheral neuropathy. For forms caused by diabetes or toxins, treatment of these underlying condition may reduce progression of the disease and its symptoms. For most cases, treatment is limited to attempts to decrease pain. Antiseizure or antidepressant medications or even narcotics may be beneficial.