Diagnosing Your Neuropathy Type

bottom_rightNeuropathy is a complex condition that can have an effect on the body’s nervous system.    Neuropathy can be considered a collection of disorders that develop when damaged to the peripheral nervous system occurs. The peripheral nervous system refers to the part of the nervous system outside of the brain and spinal cord; when damage occurs to the nerve cells or nerve axons, it is called peripheral neuropathy. There are many different types of neuropathy and each type has a unique effect on the body.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is possibly one of the most familiar types of neuropathy and is a common complication of diabetes. Diabetic patients have to be cautious of the affect that their uncontrolled blood sugar levels could have on the development of neuropathy. If glucose levels stay sporadic and imbalanced for a long period, the diabetic could be facing severe consequences and an added lifelong struggle.

The statistics are staggering in that over half of the individuals diagnosed with diabetes will end up with some form of neuropathic symptoms. Neuropathy in diabetic’s takes years to develop some diabetics does not begin to show signs of neuropathy till ten or twenty years after begin diagnosed with diabetes, and even then diabetic neuropathy symptoms develop over time. Diabetic neuropathy symptoms include:

  • Heartburn
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Throwing up
  • Sexual problems
  • Dizziness

An early sign of diabetic neuropathy would be tingling in the arms and legs. If you are experiencing any of the mentioned symptoms, seek the advice and counsel of a medical professional as soon as you can so that a diagnosis could be made.

High levels of blood sugar can cause damage to the nerve cells especially in the foot area as a result of the blood sugar levels restricting proper blood flow. Diabetics are constantly reminded to take proper care of their feet in order to prevent neuropathy in feet. Neuropathy in feet can be hazardous and if not treated could lead to amputation.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a type of neuropathy that affects nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. Peripheral nerves are part of the peripheral nervous system and when damaged begin to affect nerves found on extremities such as:

  • Toes
  • Feet
  • Legs
  • Fingers
  • Hands
  • Arms

Cranial Neuropathy

Cranial neuropathy develops when one of the twelve cranial nerves that exist from the brain are damaged directly. Cranial neuropathy can have an effect on the nerves that transmit visual signals from the retina of the eye to the brain this is called optic neuropathy. The second effect that cranial neuropathy can have on an individual is on the nerves that affect ones hearing and transports signals from the inner ear to the brain making it possible to hear effectively.

Autonomic neuropathy

Autonomic neuropathy affects the nerves that control the involuntary nervous system. The nerves affected by this type of neuropathy control the following:

  • Heart
  • Blood circulation
  • Digestion
  • Bowels
  • Bladder
  • Perspiration
  • Sexual response

The four types of neuropathy mentioned only scratches the surface of all the different types and subtypes of neuropathy conditions waiting to be diagnosed.

 

Diagnosing Neuropathy

It is important that if one feels he or she may be experiencing neuropathy symptoms that he or she seeks the advice and counsel from a medical professional. Diagnosing neuropathy can be tricky and is a rather lengthy process so if there is reason for concern it is imperative that you seek out medical attention quickly to begin the diagnosing process. The first step a physician will take in diagnosing neuropathy will be to administer a full body physiological exam. Your doctor will want to compile your medical history compare it with your physical results before going further with testing.

If there is a need for further testing, one can assume the following tests will be administered:

  • Detailed neurological exam that focuses on tendon reflexes and coordination. The test results will either prove or disprove if the nerves are responding correctly.
  • An Electromyography (EMG) – this records muscle tissue and its electrical activity. An EMG test can determine if the symptoms you are expressing concern over are truly neuropathic related or a muscle disease.
  • Nerve Conduction Test (NCV) – this tests the speed of which impulses travel through the nerves.

Once a diagnosis has been made, follow-up care will be needed in order to discuss neuropathy treatment and how to cope with life after diagnosis.

 

 

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