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What is polyneuropathy and radiculopathy?

Q: My mother aged 65 years, is suffering from polyneuropathy and S4, S5 bilateral radiculopathy. What does this signify? Is it a harmful and life threatening disease? The disease was confirmed through MRI of Lumbar Spine and Muscular / Nerve Studies.

A:Polyneuropathy is a long word denoting abnormality in a number of nerves. The term does not tell us the cause or nature of the disease. Radiculopathy denotes abnormality in those segments of nerves that lie within the spinal canal. These segments are involved soon after they leave the spinal cord. S refers to the block of bone forming the lowermost part of the vertebral column or spine. It is called the sacrum. S4 and S5 are the lowermost segments of this block of bone. In order to answer your query on whether the disease referred to by you is harmful or life threatening, you must ask your mother’s doctor the following questions: 1. What is the nature of the disease and its severity? 2. Does it explain the patient’s symptoms and signs? 3. Is it treatable? 4. Will it require surgery? 5. What if it is not treated? What would be the consequences?

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