Neuropathy means nerve disease or damage. Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve damage which is caused by diabetes*.
Diabetes is the leading cause of neuropathy in developed countries, and neuropathy is the most common complication and greatest source of morbidity and mortality in diabetes patients. It is estimated that the prevalence of neuropathy in diabetes patients is approximately 20%. Diabetic neuropathy is implicated in 50-75% of non-traumatic amputations.
How is the test performed?
The diagnosis of diabetic neuropathy is largely based on your symptoms, medical history and physical examination.
During a physical exam, following must be checked:
• How well you feel light touch, temperature, pain, vibration, and movement.
• Your strength and reflexes.
• Electromyogram (EMG) and nerve conduction studies may also be done to confirm a diagnosis.
Basically the tests measure how well and how quickly the nerves conduct electrical impulses, as when a nerve is damaged, the speed of nerve function slows down*
* WebMD. Diabetic Neuropathy - Topic Overview. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/tc/diabetic-neuropathy-topic-overview#1. Assessed on 7-11-2016.
At Austica, we use the Biothesiometer Vibrotest Equipment which is a simple device to quantify neuropathy, since perception of vibrations is severely compromised in patients with diabetic neuropathy. This state of the art device helps to assess the extent of peripheral sensory neuropathy and identification of individual patients that are at the risk of foot ulcerations.