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What is Diabetic Neuropathy and Diabetic Neuropathy Screening?

What is Diabetic Neuropathy and Diabetic Neuropathy Screening?

Millions of American adults are living with diabetes. It’s a chronic metabolic condition that changes the way your body converts sugar from food into energy, and these changes affect the way your body functions.

Diabetes elevates your blood sugar, particularly when it’s not managed effectively. High blood sugar can damage your nervous system over time, resulting in a common diabetes complication: diabetic neuropathy.

Diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage, reduces sensation in your body. It can lead to serious issues like nerve pain, loss of sensation, infection, and more. But the good news is that comprehensive diabetes care and neuropathy screening can lower your risk of nerve damage.

Our team at Endocrine Associates of West Village specializes in diabetes management for adults of all ages. If you have diabetes, now’s the time to learn more about diabetic neuropathy and the importance of screening.

Neuropathy: a common complication of diabetes

Diabetic neuropathy is a common but serious complication of diabetes. If you have diabetes, your body can’t effectively process excess sugar in your blood. Your blood sugar level can get too high as a result, and chronic high blood sugar can slowly damage your nervous system.

There are four main types of diabetic neuropathy:

About 30% of people with diabetes have autonomic neuropathy. It occurs when the nerves of your autonomic nervous system get damaged, and it can affect bodily functions, such as heart rate and digestion.

Nearly half of all people with diabetes have peripheral neuropathy. This type of neuropathy affects your extremities, and includes symptoms like numbness and tingling in hands or feet.

Radiculoplexus neuropathy and focal neuropathy are less common, but still serious. These types typically affect one specific area of the body or just one nerve.

The importance of diabetic neuropathy screening

You can lower your risk of neuropathy and its complications by managing your diabetes well. At Endocrine Associates of West Village, our team partners with you, developing a treatment plan to control your blood sugar and improve overall wellness.

Living an active lifestyle and following your diabetes meal plan can help prevent diabetic nerve damage. But one of the most important things to do for your health is getting regular diabetic neuropathy screenings.

Why are neuropathy screenings so important? Because neuropathy develops slowly over time. That means you may not realize you have neuropathy until your nerves are damaged significantly. 

Diabetic neuropathy screening helps identify changes in your nervous system as early as possible, so we can recommend treatment to avoid further damage. 

What to expect at your diabetic neuropathy screenings

Your neuropathy screening starts with a review of your medical history and any symptoms you have. Our team performs a physical exam, then we move into specific neuropathy screenings based on your health needs.

We evaluate your muscle strength and tendon reflexes. Using filament testing or sensory testing, we evaluate your sensitivity to touch and vibration.

Electrical signal tests include nerve conduction testing and muscle response testing. These measure how well nerves in your body conduct electrical signals and communicate with the rest of your nervous system.

After your tests are complete, we review your results to identify signs of neuropathy. When neuropathy screening is part of your routine diabetes management plan, we track your results over time.

Regular screenings help you stay on top of your health, and they’re a critical part of your diabetes care plan. To find out if it’s time to schedule your next screening, contact us at Endocrine Associates of West Village.

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