The most common cause of neuropathy is diabetes(what is it?). Neuropathy will appear in approximately around 50 per cent of diabetic patients. Different forms of diabetic neuropathy affect various body parts and cause various kinds of symptoms. In this blog let’s see how to diagnose diabetic neuropathy in detail.

What is diabetic neuropathy?

The term “neuropathy” refers to damage to the peripheral nervous system’s nerves. Neuropathy is mainly caused by diabetes. Although it usually affects the nerves of the hands and feet, it can also affect any nerve, including the autonomic nerves that control the body’s internal organ functions.

Types of diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy can be categorized as

  • Peripheral neuropathy- The usual areas where peripheral neuropathy affects are the feet and legs since they are the longest and farthest from and are affected first, however, it can also affect the arms or hands.
  • Autonomic neuropathy- Here, the autonomic nervous system gets affected which controls the functions of other systems in your body such as the digestive system, sweat glands, sex organs, bladder etc.
  • Proximal neuropathy – Proximal neuropathy, is a rare type of neuropathy which often affects the hips, buttocks, or thighs
  • Focal neuropathy- Focal neuropathy occurs most often in your hand, head, chest, or leg.
How to diagnose diabetic neuropathy

Most diabetic patients with neuropathy are unaware that they have nerve damage until their doctor notices it during normal testing. Several tests can be used to diagnose diabetic neuropathy. Here is a list of a few of the most common tests:

Physical exam

A physical exam can help your doctor detect any signs of neuropathy, such as loss of sensation or reflexes in the feet and legs.

 Nerve conduction studies

Nerve conduction studies measure the speed at which electrical signals travel through the nerves. This test can help your doctor determine if there is any damage to the nerves and its functions.

Electromyography (EMG)

EMG measures the electrical activity of the muscles. This test can help your doctor determine if there is any muscle damage or weakness caused by neuropathy.

Quantitative sensory testing (QST)

QST measures the ability to feel different sensations, such as touch, temperature, and vibration. This test can help your doctor determine if there is any loss of sensation caused by neuropathy.

Autonomic testing

Autonomic testing measures the function of the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion. This test can help your doctor determine if there is any damage to the autonomic nerves caused by neuropathy.

Skin biopsy

In a skin biopsy, a small piece of skin is taken and examined under a microscope. This test can help your doctor determine if there is any damage to the small nerve fibres in the skin caused by neuropathy.

To sum up

If you are experiencing symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, such as numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands or feet, it’s important to talk to your doctor. Your doctor can recommend the appropriate tests to diagnose your condition and develop a treatment plan to manage your symptoms and prevent further complications.