Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is a progressive disease that often involves pain, loss of sensation and weakness. Moreover, about 60-70% of diabetic patients are known to suffer from peripheral neuropathy. If not treated in time or managed well, it can lead to lower limb amputations that can be avoided. For instance, nearly 54,000 diabetics undergo amputations and most importantly, 75% of which are preventable. A proper clinical examination may identify early signs and speed up diagnosis without presence of any symptoms. Here is a list of tests used to diagnose the disease:
Blood tests are used to indicate diabetes and abnormal immune functioning. Hence it can predict signs of peripheral neuropathy. A complete count of your blood cells can also help identify vitamin deficiencies. For example, vitamin B12 deficiency damages the insulating covering (myelin sheath) surrounding the nerves. In addition, high levels of vitamin B6 can also cause neuropathy.
Computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans identify compressed nerves . For instance, they help rule out other disorders and conditions. To summarize, these disorders may have similar symptoms.
Electromyograms help identify electric activity in muscles. Moreover, they pinpoint how they receive the nerve stimulations. In other words, thin needles inserted into muscles and to record their activity help identify abnormalities.
Nerve conduction tests for instance measure how electric impulses pass through the nerves. These tests are performed along with electromyograms. Firstly, needles are placed at specific intervals on the nerve being tested and secondly, their response to a low current stimulation is checked. To summarize healthy nerves usually transmit signals at a greater strength.
Autonomic Nerve Testing
These tests help identify the proper functioning of the autonomic nervous system.
Quantitative Sensory Testing (QST)
These tests help identify damage to small nerve endings that detect the change in temperature, vibrations, touch and pain. Moreover it also helps determine whether the neuropathy is responding to the treatment.
Nerve and Skin Biopsy
Biopsy is a minor surgical procedure that involves removal of a sample of skin or nerves for examination. Likewise, nerve biopsies help identify demyelination (damage to the myelin sheath), axon degeneration (damage to the axon) and other neuropathic conditions. On the other hand, skin biopsies helps determine conditions affecting small nerve fibers.
Your physician can recommend various diagnostic tests depending on your condition. Hence, consult your physician if you notice the slightest change in your symptoms. In conclusion,DPN can be challenging, but with early diagnosis and proper treatment plan, you can effectively manage your pain.
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