tabetic neuritis

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(noo-ri'tis, nu-) [ neuro- + -itis]
Inflammation of a nerve, usually associated with a degenerative process. Guillain-Barré syndrome; polyneuritis;


There are many forms of neuritis, which produce a variety of symptoms, including neuralgia in the part affected, hyperesthesia, paresthesia, dysesthesia, hypesthesia, anesthesia, muscular atrophy of the body part supplied by the affected nerve, paralysis, and lack of reflexes.


Neuritis may be caused by mechanical factors (e.g., compression or contusion of the nerve) or localized infection involving direct infection of a nerve. It may accompany diseases such as leprosy, tetanus, tuberculosis, malaria, or measles. Toxins, esp. poisoning by heavy metals (arsenic, lead, mercury), alcohol, or carbon tetrachloride, may also be a cause. Neuritis may accompany thiamine deficiency, gastrointestinal dysfunction, diabetes, toxemias of pregnancy, or peripheral vascular disease.

Patient care

Changes in motor and sensory function are monitored. Correct positioning and prescribed analgesic drugs are used to relieve pain. Rest is provided, and affected extremities are rested by limiting their use and by using supportive appliances. Passive range-of-motion exercises are performed to help prevent contracture formation. Skin care is provided, and proper nutrition and dietary therapy are prescribed for metabolic disorders. Health care providers remove causative factors or counsel the patient about their avoidance. After pain subsides, prescribed activities are performed (e.g., massage, electrostimulation, and exercise).

adventitial neuritis

Inflammation of a nerve sheath.

ascending neuritis

Neuritis moving upward along a nerve trunk away from the periphery.

axial neuritis

Inflammation of the inner portion of a nerve.

degenerative neuritis

Neuritis with rapid degeneration of a nerve.

descending neuritis

Neuritis that leads away from the central nervous system toward the periphery.

diphtheritic neuritis

Neuritis following diphtheria.

disseminated neuritis

Neuritis involving a large group of nerves.

interstitial neuritis

Neuritis involving the connective tissue of a nerve.

intraocular neuritis

Neuritis of the retinal fibers of the optic nerve causing disturbed vision, contracted field, enlarged blind spot, and fundus findings such as exudates, hemorrhages, and abnormal condition of the blood vessels. Treatment depends on the cause (e.g., brain tumor, meningitis, syphilis, nephritis, diabetes). See: optic neuritis

neuritis migrans

Ascending or descending neuritis that passes along a nerve trunk, affecting one area and then another.

multiple neuritis

Simultaneous impairment of a number of peripheral nerves. Synonym: polyneuritis


Symptoms are related to the suddenness of onset and severity. Usually, lower limbs are affected first, with weakness that may progress until the entire body is affected. Muscle strength, deep tendon reflexes, sensory nerves, and autonomic nerves become involved.


Causes include infectious diseases (e.g., diphtheria), metabolic disorders (e.g., alcoholism, diabetes, pellagra, beriberi, sprue), and various poisons, including lead. In some instances, the disease arises without apparent cause.


Causative factors should be removed if possible. Treatment includes skilled nursing, with particular care taken to prevent bedsores, and dietary therapy (depending upon the cause).

neuritis nodosa

Neuritis with formation of nodes on nerves.

optic neuritis

Inflammation of the optic nerve causing varying degrees of visual loss. It is often the first recognized symptom in patients with multiple sclerosis.

parenchymatous neuritis

Neuritis of nerve fiber substance.

peripheral neuritis

Neuritis of terminal nerves or end organs.

retrobulbar neuritis

Neuritis of the portion of the optic nerve behind the eyeball.


The main symptom is acute loss of vision in one or both eyes. Pain may be absent or may be unbearable, lasting for only a brief period or for days.


This type of neuritis may be caused by a variety of illnesses, but in adults it is most frequently associated with multiple sclerosis.

rheumatic neuritis

Neuritis with symptoms of rheumatism.

sciatic neuritis

Inflammation of the sciatic nerve.
See: sciatica

segmental neuritis

Neuritis affecting segments of a nerve interspersed with healthy segments.

sympathetic neuritis

Neuritis of the opposite nerve without attack of the nerve center.

syphilitic neuritis

Neuritis in locomotor ataxia caused by syphilis.
Synonym: tabetic neuritis

tabetic neuritis

Syphilitic neuritis.

toxic neuritis

Neuritis resulting from metallic poisons (e.g., arsenic, mercury, and thallium) or nonmetallic poisons (e.g., various hydrocarbons and organic solvents).

traumatic neuritis

Neuritis following an injury.

vestibular neuritis

A condition marked by vertigo, nausea and vomiting, and gait disturbance of relatively acute onset, usually caused by inflammatory processes within the bony labyrinth of the ear.
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