Diabetic Neuropathy

In: Science

Submitted By northcoastguy
Words 2326
Pages 10
I. Introduction
Diabetes is on the rise in the United States and the resultant health problems are leading to visits to physicians’ offices and hospitals more than ever before. Diabetic neuropathy, a debilitating nerve disorder which can affect almost any part of the nervous system, occurs in nearly 50 percent of patients with diabetes. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is found in 12 percent of insulin dependent diabetics and 32 percent of those who are not, equaling approximately 3 million people in the United States. (Chen et al. 2007) The number of patients with other neuropathies, such as autonomic, proximal, and focal, comprises the other 1 million diabetic neuropathy patients, most of whom suffer in pain from the dysfunction of the nervous system. (Chen et al. 2007) This disorder’s elusive nature is such that it can not only present in any part of the body but it can be completely without symptoms that the average patient would report to their physician. Since the patients themselves are less likely to naturally disclose their suffering through their assumption that their symptoms are not relevant to their diabetic condition, the physician’s role in the diagnosis and recognition of this disorder is even more critical.

II. Definition and Types of Diabetic Neuropathy
The most common type of diabetic neuropathy is peripheral, considered, more generally, sensorimotor. Peripheral neuropathy causes pain or loss of feeling in the toes, feet, legs, hands, and arms. (NIDDKD 2002) Specifically, distal symmetric polyneuropathy is the most common of peripheral types, causing nerve damage away from the center of the nervous system but equally on both sides of the body and in multiple places. Thus, the extremities are most affected. Peripheral neuropathy may cause not only pain but muscle weakness and early fatigue and loss of reflexes. Foot deformities, such…...

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