The symptoms of axonal neuropathy include loss of sensation, muscle weakness and loss of reflexes, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Axonal neuropathies can also affect blood pressure, producing light-headedness or syncope. Axonal neuropathies cause the axons of nerve cells to degenerate. Symptoms vary depending on whether the neuropathy affects the sensory, motor or autonomic nerve axons.
Neuropathies that affect sensory nerve cells disrupt an individual’s ability to feel, informs Cleveland Clinic. This includes sensation of touch, temperature, pain and vibration. As the neuropathy worsens, the loss of sensation travels downward, affecting the upper and lower extremities. Loss of sensation may also be accompanied by numbness, tingling or pressure sensations.
Neuropathies that affect motor nerve cells interfere with a person’s movements and muscle tone, adds Cleveland Clinic. Motor symptoms move from the lower extremities upward. Symptoms include weakness, muscle atrophy and an increased tendency to stumble or fall when walking.
Neuropathies also may involve the nerves of the autonomic system, notes Cleveland Clinic. In this case, individuals can show a variety of autonomic symptoms, including excessive or absent sweating, incontinence and gastrointestinal dysfunction. The most debilitating symptom of neuropathies with autonomic involvement is orthostatic hypertension, which is a drop in blood pressure that causes light-headedness, syncope or both.