neuritis(redirected from descending neuritis)
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neuritis(no͝orī`tĭs, nyo͝o–), inflammation of a peripheral nerve, often accompanied by degenerative changes in nervous tissue. The cause can be mechanical (injury, pressure), vascular (occlusion of a vessel or hemorrhage into nerve tissue), infectious (invasion by microorganisms), toxic (metallic or chemical poisoning, alcoholism), or metabolic (vitamin deficiencies, pernicious anemia). Symptoms of neuritis that arise from involvement of sensory nerves are tingling, burning, pin-and-needle sensations, or even loss of sensation. If motor nerves are involved, symptoms may range from a slight loss of muscle tone to paralysis. Since neuritis is regarded as a condition that results from a number of disorders, rather than a disease in itself, treatment is directed first at the underlying cause. See neuralgianeuralgia
, acute paroxysmal pain along a peripheral sensory nerve. Unlike neuritis, there is no inflammation or degeneration of nerve tissue. Neuralgia occurs commonly in the area of the facial, or trigeminal, nerve and brings attacks of excruciating pain at varying intervals.
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an inflammatory disease of the peripheral nerves. The symptoms of neuritis include pain, paralysis, pareses, and the decrease or loss of nerve sensitivity. Neuritides can result from a wide variety of causes. For example, otitis in the middle ear, and such infectious agents as the virus of herpes zoster can be involved in the pathogenesis of neuritis of the facial nerve. Catarrhal factors and traumas can also play a part in the development of this type of neuritis.
Polyneuritis is a special form of neuritis in which many nerves are involved in the disease process. Some polyneuritides are caused by a neurotropic virus. The roots of the spinal nerve are usually affected (as in polyradiculoneuritis), and often the spinal column and even the brain are affected. The most common causes of polyneuritides are chronic exogenous intoxications, such as those caused by alcohol, botulism toxin, and lead, or endogenous, intoxications, for instance, those resulting from diabetes and uremia.
Patients with neuritis experience pain in the extremities, muscular weakness, disturbances of sensitivity, atrophies and pareses of muscles, changes in skin coloring, sweating, and chilliness. These changes appear predominantly in the regions of the hands and feet. Neuritis is treated by first curing the causative disease and then using antibiotics, analgesics, sedatives, and B vitamins. Physiotherapy is also indicated.
V. A. KARLOV