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Diabetic Neuropathy Diagnosis

Tests Used to Reach a Diabetic Neuropathy Diagnosis

The doctor may also do other tests to help make a diabetic neuropathy diagnosis and determine the type and extent of nerve damage. These tests include:
 
  • Nerve conduction studies
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Quantitative sensory testing (QST)
  • Heart rate variability
  • Ultrasound
  • Nerve or skin biopsy.
     
Nerve Conduction Study
Nerve conduction studies check the transmission of electrical current through a nerve. With this test, an image of the nerve conducting an electrical signal is projected onto a screen. Nerve impulses that seem slower or weaker than usual indicate possible damage. This test allows the doctor to assess the condition of all the nerves in the arms and legs.
 
Electromyography (EMG)
Electromyography (EMG) shows how well muscles respond to electrical signals transmitted by nearby nerves. The electrical activity of the muscle is displayed on a screen. A response that is slower or weaker than usual suggests damage to the nerve or muscle. This test is often done at the same time as nerve conduction studies.
 
Quantitative Sensory Testing (QST)
Quantitative sensory testing (QST) uses the response to stimuli -- such as pressure, vibration, and temperature -- to check for neuropathy. QST is increasingly used to recognize sensation loss and excessive irritability of nerves.
 
Heart Rate Variability
A check of heart rate variability shows how the heart responds to deep breathing and to changes in blood pressure and posture.
 
Ultrasound
Ultrasound uses sound waves to produce an image of internal organs. An ultrasound of the bladder and other parts of the urinary tract, for example, can show how these organs preserve a normal structure and whether the bladder empties completely after urination.
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Diabetic Neuropathy Information

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