Diabetic neuropathy occurs when you have high blood sugar levels. It can affect the nerves in feet, legs, arms, heart etc. Keep reading to know its diagnosis and treatment…
When diabetes affects the nerves, the person is said to have diabetic neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, radiculoplexus neuropathy, mononeuropathy are the various types of diabetic neuropathy. A person with this disease develops symptoms like numbness, tingling sensation in nerves, pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, etc.
How is it diagnosed?
Firstly the doctor will ask medical history while conducting a physical exam during which he/she can check the muscle strength and tone, tendon reflexes etc.
The following tests can be conducted:
- Filament test: In this, the doctor will test the sensitivity to touch using a soft nylon fiber.
- Nerve conduction studies: Often used to check carpal tunnel syndrome, this test is used to measure the speed by which the arms and legs conduct electrical signals.
- Electromyography (EMG): This test is used to measure the electrical discharges let out by muscles.
- Quantitative sensory testing: This test is carried out to know how the nerves are responding to vibrations and changes in temperature.
- Autonomic testing: This test is carried out in people who show the symptoms of autonomic neuropathy. In this test, the doctor will check the blood pressure in various positions; he/she will also examine the ability to sweat.
How is it treated?
Diabetic neuropathy cannot be cured. However, steps can be taken to:
- Control the progression of disease: Blood sugar should be maintained within the target range to slow down the progression of the disease. The doctor will decide your target range based on certain factors like age, time period for which you have been suffering from diabetes, overall health etc.
To control the nerve damage, you should:
- Keep foot in good condition
- Follow diabetes meal plan
- Quit smoking
- Cut down on alcohol
- Maintain weight
- Reduce pain: To bring down the pain, the doctor can suggest anti-seizure medications and antidepressants. He/she can also suggest capsaicin cream, physical therapy, acupuncture etc to relieve the pain.
- Prevent complications: The doctor will recommend the following measures to solve various problems.
- Urinary tract problems: The doctor will give antispasmodic medications, pessaries etc to treat the loss of bladder control.
- Digestive problems: To relieve indigestion, nausea, vomiting etc, the doctor will suggest minor changes in eating habits like eating smaller frequent meals, eating soups etc.
- Low blood pressure on standing: For this, the doctor will suggest simple changes in lifestyle such as avoiding alcohol, sitting or standing slowly etc.
- Sexual dysfunction: In men, mechanical vacuum devices whereas in women vaginal lubricants prevent sexual dysfunction.
If you experience any symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, consult a diabetologist online at eVaidya now!
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