Alcoholic polyneuropathy (A.K.A alcohol leg) is a neurological disorder in which peripheral nerves throughout the body malfunction simultaneously. It is defined by axonal degeneration in neurons of both the sensory and motor systems and initially occurs at the distal ends of the longest axons in the body. This nerve damage causes an individual to experience pain and motor weakness, first in the feet and hands and then progressing centrally. Alcoholic polyneuropathy is caused primarily by chronic alcoholism; however, vitamin deficiencies are also known to contribute to its development. This disease typically occurs in chronic alcoholics who have some sort of nutritional deficiency. Treatment may involve nutritional supplementation, pain management, and abstaining from alcohol.
Although there is no known cure for alcoholic polyneuropathy, there are a number of treatments that can control symptoms and promote independence. Physical therapy is beneficial for strength training of weakened muscles, as well as for gait and balance training.
An intravenous home parenteral nutrition formula may be a part of the treatment plan for those with alcoholic polyneuropathy who also suffer from nutritional deficiency.
To best manage symptoms, refraining from consuming alcohol is essential. Abstinence from alcohol encourages proper diet and helps prevent progression or recurrence of the neuropathy. Once an individual stops consuming alcohol it is important to make sure they understand that substantial recovery usually isn't seen for a few months. Some subjective improvement may appear right away, but this is usually due to the overall benefits of alcohol detoxification. If alcohol consumption continues, vitamin supplementation alone is not enough to improve the symptoms of most individuals.
Nutritional therapy with parenteral multivitamins is beneficial to implement until the person can maintain adequate nutritional intake. Treatments also include vitamin supplementation (especially thiamine). In more severe