Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy is a complication that can affect up to half of older patients with type 2 diabetes
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy, or DPN, is a clinical condition that can affect up to half the older patients who suffer from type 2 diabetes. DPN is an important and common complication of diabetes. Careful examination and meticulous blood sugar control can help patients manage the symptoms effectively.
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy refers to a clinical condition where there is abnormal function of the nerves that lie outside the brain and spinal cord due to underlying diabetes. It forms one type of neuropathic conditions that occur in diabetes patients. There are two types of DPN. Acute sensory neuropathy is one that occurs suddenly in patients in whom the blood glucose levels are unstable such as diabetic ketoacidosis, and it usually resolves by itself once the blood glucose levels are normalized. Chronic sensorimotor neuropathy is the more common type which develops over a period of time and is the type of DPN that is often seen when type 2 diabetes is diagnosed.
Patients who suffer from DPN can have a plethora of symptoms. Many patients have no symptoms for quite a while. Pain is the most common symptom that is usually seen in the lower legs and hands. The pain is typically described as burning pain or like a knife is being driven through, and some patients have also reported an electric shock sensation before. The legs may also feel numb and patients may experience a tingling sensation. The distribution of symptoms is often called glove and stocking distribution.
DPN is diagnosed from a clinical history of diabetes and clinical signs on examination. Nerve conduction studies may be performed to confirm the diagnosis. It is essential to accurately diagnose DPN as there can be other causes of it that are treated differently. These need to be ruled out before hand, so certain special blood tests may need to be performed first.
There are a number of different ways DPN may be treated. These can include: