If you google ’Hyperesthesia’, you might be flooded with articles about Feline (cat) hyperesthesia. This common hypersensitivity disorder linked with cats can also attack humans.
Hyperesthesia mostly occurs due to underlying health conditions, though. It occurs in people due to many reasons.
In this article, we will tell you about Hyperesthesia, its treatment, symptoms and causes.
What is Hyperesthesia?
To answer the question, ’what is hyperesthesia?’ in an easy and discernible manner, we have broken down the science behind it into a simpler and more apprehensive way.
As experts say, hyperesthesia is a condition in which skin becomes extremely sensitive to touch. However, it is not just limited to the surface of your skin.
Hyperesthesia can even affect your other senses like your sense of smell or your sense of hearing. Depending on its effect on your body, it has different names. Like, if you have a sensitivity to sound, it is called auditory hyperesthesia or if you experience sensitivity to touch, it is called tactile hyperesthesia.
What causes Hyperesthesia?
There can be many reasons why this hypersensitivity happens in some people. Hyperesthesia causes are hard to confide, though. Any of your senses can produce high sensitivity.
Hyperesthesia is caused due to overstimulation of the nervous system. It can be due to many factors. People who consume caffeine in the form of tea or coffee can experience hyperesthesia temporarily for a few minutes or maybe for a few hours.
People who consume alcohol can experience this too. If you drink alcohol in excess, your body might temporarily experience hyperesthesia. This happens because alcohol affects the central nervous system of your body.
Hyperesthesia is also caused by the deficiency of Vitamin-B12. Although Vitamin-B12 is often associated with many neurological disorders, the odds of it causing hyperesthesia are rare.
Hyperesthesia is also common in children who suffer from autism.
Although Hyperesthesia can happen without any cause, peripheral neuropathy remains the leading cause of hyperesthesia.
What is Peripheral neuropathy that causes Hyperesthesia?
Peripheral neuropathy includes the brain, spinal cord and nerves. Your nerves are connected to all the physical parts of your body, i.e. Your hands, feet, legs, etc. In this condition, the nerves get damaged and fail to send and receive signals from the other parts of your body.
There are different types of peripheral neuropathy with different characteristic indications.
Peripheral neuropathy can be caused either due to genetic factors or due to an underlying health disorder. People with diabetes are more likely to develop peripheral neuropathy as it happens due to high blood sugar in your body.
Common symptoms of Hyperesthesia
The symptoms of Hyperesthesia depend on many factors. As mentioned earlier, Hyperesthesia happens due to nerve damage. Therefore, you will experience symptoms related to your senses.
If you have tactile hyperesthesia, you will be overly sensitive to touch. If you are being touched, you might feel pins and needles poking into your skin which may or may not be accompanied by pain.
Another type of hyperesthesia is auditory hyperesthesia. This uncommon disorder involves being highly sensitive to sounds. The affected person refuses to hear even the normal sound levels.
There’s another type of hyperesthesia related to the sense of smell. It is known as olfactory hyperesthesia. It involves experiencing different smells which are not even present in reality.
Hyperesthesia can also affect more than one sense. Say, you might have both tactile hyperesthesia and auditory hyperesthesia at the same time.
How will you treat Hyperesthesia?
The treatment of this condition depends on its causes. Therefore, to treat hyperesthesia, you need to identify and treat the cause of developing hyperesthesia.
For example, If the condition was developed due to diabetes, you need to treat diabetes first. Likewise, if hyperesthesia was caused by Vitamin-B12 deficiency, you will have to treat it first.
In the worst-case scenario, you may get seizures due to hyperesthesia. To treat it, you will be advised to start taking anticonvulsant medicines.
Other than curing underlying diseases, hyperesthesia treatment involves taking medicines for pain and other skin inflammations.
Some doctors also believe that patients who develop anxiety and depression due to hyperesthesia should be counselled by therapists.
You can apply ointments in case of skin rashes and inflammation caused by hyperesthesia. They are effective in reducing skin inflammation.
Local anaesthetics are also used in treating hyperesthesia. They work by making the skin numb for a certain period. You just need to apply it to the affected area where the skin is extremely sensitive to touch.
How is Feline Hyperesthesia different from Hyperesthesia in humans?
Have you ever seen cats acting a bit strange?
Well, it may be because they have hyperesthesia. If you have a cat and it behaves weird when you touch it, you might wanna get it checked by a doctor. Cats appear to be more sensitive and irritated than humans.
Hyperesthesia in humans, on the other hand, is more on the depression side. Humans tend to get anxiety or depression if they have this condition.
Hyperesthesia in humans mostly occurs due to underlying diseases such as diabetes and Vitamin-B12 deficiency.
How to diagnose Hyperesthesia in humans?
First things first, to diagnose hyperesthesia, the doctor will first ask you about your medication history and if you have any ongoing medical condition like diabetes, blood pressure, thyroid, etc. The doctor will most likely ask open-ended questions to encourage patients to answer.
A neurological analysis might also be required to check if you have hyperesthesia linked to peripheral neuropathy. This evaluation is usually done to check the functioning of your nerves.
In the case of hyperesthesia, doctors usually ask your medication history first. In medical terms, it is known as medication history interview.
If required, the electric activity of nerves is also checked to make sure that the nerves are working properly.
If the cause of hyperesthesia remains undiagnosed, the doctor will recommend you a few more tests to get your body tested for the level of Vitamin-B12 and other possible conditions linked to hyperesthesia.
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