New Ways To Diagnose Neuropathy

With an aging population and more diabetics, neuropathy is on the rise.  Here is the latest news.

According to Laurence Kinsella, M.D., professor of neurology at Saint Louis University, physicians should follow new guidelines for diagnosing neuropathy.   It is imperative to protect diabetic feet.

Neuropathy is a condition that can lead to weakness and muscle wasting.  Onset often involves tingling or numbness in the extremities that can eventually affect entire limbs. This happens to about 2% of the population and increases after age 55.

Doctors recommend blood and nerve tests including blood tests for levels of glucose, vitamin B12 and serum protein to ascertain the cause of neuropathy.

Other tests, known as autonomic tests, measure the action of tiny nerves that control body functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, and sweating.

The growing segment of older people and more diabetics add to the growth of the problem, which can also be caused by other factors like autoimmune disorders, heredity,poor nutrition, and prolonged alcohol use.

New thinking points to determining the cause of neuropathy, then treating that cause, opposed to just attempting to minimize the effects of neuropathy itself. Certain types respond very well to treatment, and at the very least, physicians can help their patients function optimally when they know the underlying cause.

A lot of people may not realize they have a treatable condition and think uncomfortable shoes or instability is just a part of getting older.

Learn more at the American Academy of Neurology and in the Dec. 3 issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.