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Distal axonopathy (aka dying back neuropathy) is a type of peripheral neuropathy that results from some metabolic or toxic derangement of peripheral nervous system (PNS) neurons. It is the most common response of nerves to metabolic or toxic disturbances, and as such may be caused by metabolic diseases such as diabetes, renal failure, deficiency syndromes such as malnutrition and alcoholism, or the effects of toxins or drugs. The most common cause of distal axonopathy is diabetes, and the most common distal axonopathy is diabetic neuropathy.
The most distal portions of axons are usually the first to degenerate, and axonal atrophy advances slowly towards the nerve's cell body. If the noxious stimulus is removed, regeneration is possible, though prognosis decreases depending on the duration and severity of the stimulus.
Those with distal axonopathies usually present with symmetrical stocking-glove sensori-motor disturbances. Deep tendon reflexes and autonomic nervous system (ANS) functions are also lost or diminished in affected areas.
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