Neuropathy Tests and Diagnosis With Impressive Ease
Neuropathy tests and diagnosis, what are they and how are they done? Before answering this question it is good to know that peripheral neuropathy is not just a single disease so it is not easy to diagnose. It comes with many symptoms and different causes.
Before he can diagnose this condition, the doctor will take a complete medical history. He will also perform a neurological and physical exam that will check the reflexes, the sensitivity to changes in touch and temperature, and strength of the muscles. Here are the other ways the doctor will do his neuropathy tests and diagnosis.
There are four simple screening tests for peripheral neuropathy in the clinic. In fact a recent study, researchers evaluated these four simple screening tests (the 10-g Semmes-Weinstein monofilament examination or SWME in short, superficial pain sensation, the on-off method of vibration testing and the vibration testing by the times method).
The screening test to check the sensation in the feet that the doctor usually does in his office employs a nylon filament mounted on a small rod. The filament is made to send a 10-gram force to the different areas of the foot. The diabetics who have lost the sensation would not feel this and so are therefore thought of as having a high risk to develop foot ulcers and diabetes leg pain.
The doctor may also order blood tests to check the thyroid functions, blood sugar levels, vitamin levels, kidney and liver functions. To find out the nature and extent of neuropathy, additional tests may be needed based on the results of the physical and neurological exams, previous screening or testing and the patient history.
The doctor may also check activity in muscles through electromyography which measures the electrical signals in peripheral nerves and the transfer of the signal to muscles. EMG for short, it checks the health of the muscles and the nerves that control them. It tests how well the muscles respond to electrical impulses with a screen displaying the electrical activity. A slow reaction will reveal some nerve damage.
There is no need to have special preparation to take the test; just don’t use lotions or cream on the day of the test. Since the body temperature can affect the test results, just bring a sweater and wait awhile before the test is performed. You may feel some discomfort or pain when the needle is inserted but that’s about it. Also the muscles my feel bruised for a few days.
As for the test itself, it involves inserting a very thin needle electrode through the skin into the muscle and provides information about the muscle’s ability to respond when the nerves are stimulated thus showing the difference between nerve and muscle disorders.
This is getting too long so we plan to cut this into two parts. All these neuropathy tests and diagnosis will help the doctor confirm the presence of neuropathy through the detailed neurological exam that checks the coordination, poise and deep tendon reflexes. This may reveal early indication of neuropathy and you know the importance of early diagnosis. It avoids the chance of a permanent damage. These are the facts on the neuropathy tests and diagnosis.
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