Muscle twitching, cramp and peripheral nerve hyperexcitability (PNH).
From the outset I would like to establish that Peripheral nerve hyperexcitablity (PNH) can arise due to a number of causes, for example, nerve damage caused by toxins or drugs, or it can have an underlying genetic cause. In addition to this it may also be one the symptoms observed in other neurological disorders. However, in many cases it is acquired and is often immune related, therefore, for the purpose of this site, the term PNH will only apply to this particular type with the added benefit that autoimmune PNH has been the most studied.
The Cause. Research based evidence indicates an autoimmune defect in the form of a potassium channelopathy as the likely cause of PNH. The principle responsibility of the immune system is protecting the body from infection. This protection is provided by circulating antibodies in the bloodstream which are designed to attack foreign matter. Studies of patients with PNH have shown that approximately 40% have a problem with the immune system. This causes antibodies to attack or interfere with a part of the nerve known as the potassium channel. The potassium channel along with the sodium channel are two of the chemical mechanisms within the nerve that are involved in the production of nerve cell signals. When functioning normally these two chemicals are in a form of equilibrium. However, the immune fault destabilises this balance, stimulating the nerve cell into transmitting involuntary impulses that results in muscle fiber activity. Associations with other immune disorders further indicate that peripheral nerve hyperexcitability is an autoimmune dysfunction.
The purpose of this site is to give an insight into Peripheral Nerve Hyperexcitability. It is not the intention that it is used as a means of self diagnosis. Always seek professional medical advice on any concerns you may have. The medication I mention will only relate to, and will have been prescribed for me. It is not suggested by me as treatment for anyone else.
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