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Diagnosis methods of neuropathy

A medical history

A doctor will review patient medical history(current and past), including people symptoms, lifestyle, exposure to toxins substances, history of trauma, line of work or social habits (looking for repetitive motions), drinking habits (alcohol), diet and a family history of nervous system (neurological) abnormalities e.g. peripheral neuropathy.

Neurological examination

During a neurological examination, the doctor will check reflexes, coordination and balance, muscle strength and tone, and ability to feel sensations (such as touch, cold or hot).

What are the tests?

There are various tests that can be done and they are the following below;

Blood tests for neuropathy

In blood tests can detect vitamin deficiencies, mineral imbalances, electrolytes imbalances (an indicator of diabetes, kidney disorder, and other health problems), toxic substances, thyroid problems (thyroid function test), abnormal immune function (autoimmune diseases), and antibodies to certain viruses, etc.

Imaging tests

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or CT scans can detect tumors, pinched nerves, and nerve compression, and other abnormalities.

Genetic test

If neuropathy appears by genetic abnormalities.

Nerve function test

Electromyography (EMG) is graphical records of electric activity in muscles to detect nerve damage. A thin needle (electrode) can be inserted into the muscles of your body to measure electrical activity as you contract the muscles.

At the same time, a doctor or an EMG technician performs a nerve conduction study. Flat electrodes are placed on the surface of the skin over nerves and muscles on different parts of the body, usually placed in arms and legs and a specific electric current stimulates your nerves. A doctor can be recorded your nerves’ responses to the electric current.

Other tests

Other tests include a test that measures your body’s ability to sweat (called a QSART test) and other tests that check the sensitivity of senses (heat/cold, touch, pain, vibration, etc.).

Tissues biopsies

Nerve biopsy

This process involves removing a small portion of a specific side of a nerve, generally a sensory nerve, to check for abnormalities.

Skin biopsy

This process involves a small portion of the skin that can remove and look for a reduction in nerve endings.

Treatments of neuropathy

Treatment begins by identifying and treating underlying medical abnormalities, such as diabetes or infections.

Some cases of neuropathy can be treated easily and cured sometimes. All neuropathies cannot be cured. In these cases, treatment is aimed at controlling and managing their present symptoms and preventing further nerve damage.

Treatment options can be the following:

Medicines:

Medicines can be control pain. Almost different medicines contain chemicals that help control pain by adjusting their pain-stimulating pathways within the central and peripheral nervous system. These drugs include:

  • Antidepressants (Duloxetine or nortriptyline)
  • Antiseizure drugs such as Gabapentin( Neurontin, Gralise) and pregabalin (Lyrica).
  • Topical (On the skin) patches and creams: containing Lidocaine (Lidoderm, Xylocaine) or capsaicin(Capsaicin, Zostrix).
  • Narcotic medications: It is not usually used for neuropathy pain due to limited evidence that they are helpful for these abnormalities.

Therapies for neuropathy

Various types of therapies and procedures might help ease the signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.

  • Physical therapy:
    • If people have muscle weakness, physical therapy can help improve movements. Exercise, massage, and other treatments that help increase strength, balance, and range of motion.
  • Occupational therapy:
    • This type of therapy helps to cope with pain and loss of function and teaches skills to make up for that loss.
  • Surgery
    • It is available for patients with compression-related neuropathy caused by such things as a herniated disc in the back or neck, tumors, other different infections, or nerve entrapment disorder, for example, carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Mechanical aids
    • Mechanical aids such as braces and especially that designed shoes, casts, and splints and can help to reduce pain by providing support or keeping the affected nerves in proper alignment.
  • Proper nutrition:
    • People can be eating a healthier diet and making sure to get the right balance of vitamins and other different nutrients.
  • Adopting healthy living habits
    • Including regular exercising to improve muscle strength, quitting smoking, maintaining to their a healthy weight, and limiting alcohol intake.

Other treatments for neuropathy

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

Electrodes are placed on the skin over a nerve and muscles deliver a gentle current at varying frequencies. TENS should be applied for at least 30 minutes daily for about a week to a month.

Plasma exchange and intravenous immune globulin: In these procedures, which have helped to suppress immune system activity, might benefit people with certain inflammatory conditions.

Plasma exchange involves removing blood, then removing antibodies and other proteins from blood, and returns the blood to people’s bodies.

In immune globulin therapy, she receives high levels of proteins that work as antibodies (i.e. immunoglobulins).

Alternative medicine for neuropathy

Acupuncture

Inserting a specific small needle into various parts on your body might reduce peripheral neuropathy symptoms. people might need multiple sessions before notice improvements.

Alpha-lipoic acid

In Europe for years, Alpha-lipoic acid has been used as a treatment for peripheral neuropathy. Alpha-lipoic acid can affect blood sugar levels. Other common side effects include stomach upset and skin rashes.


Herbs:
Various herbs, such as evening primrose oil, might help reduce peripheral neuropathy pain in people with diabetes patients.


Amino acids

Amino acids, acetyl-L-carnitine, might benefit all people who have undergone chemotherapy treatment and diabetes patients. The most common side effects might include nausea and vomiting, etc.

Managements of neuropathy

  • Take care of your feet, especially if you have diabetes patients.
  • Exercise (regular exercise).
  • Quit smoking.
  • Eat healthy meals.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Monitor your blood glucose levels.

Notesmed

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