Is Diabetes Getting On Your Nerves?

Much is commonly reported about diabetes; yet, surprisingly, its neurological toll is still widely unrecognised.

Peripheral neuropathy (PN) (damage to the nerves in the limbs) is one of the most common and debilitating complications of diabetes.

Symptoms may include pins & needles, numbness, tingling, muscle pain, “burning” in the feet and poor balance. This is all due to accelerated ageing of the body’s longest nerves – for instance, each sciatic nerve contains about 6,000 nerve fibres, and the thinnest (un-myelinated) nerves are the width of only a small number of blood cells.

The symptoms of PN can make exercise painful and sleep difficult; which can lead to tiredness, weight gain and an increased risk of hyperglycaemia.

Hyperglycaemia can damage blood vessels, which can reduce sensation and impede the supply of blood to wounds (slowing healing). Therefore, it’s necessary to avoid injury, which (unfortunately) may result in further avoidance of exercise. This can lead to cardiovascular issues (including stroke).

This can create a domino effect in the body’s central and thus peripheral nervous systems (which can result in PN), in a vicious cycle.

To get ahead of these symptoms, proper testing is important. Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS) can identify and quantify PN and exclude other underlying conditions.

Regular testing can objectively monitor the progress of PN in people with diabetic PN.

Early diagnosis, medical interventions – and lifestyle changes – can relieve symptoms and improve long-term outcomes.

However, GP’s may be reluctant to make referrals, due to the high cost of many NCS services.

Corbett Neurophysiology Services (CNS) routinely bulk-bills patients (with the exception of certain complex NCS/EMG studies performed to particular specifications of the referring Doctor).

CNS provides same-day results and management recommendations to GPs. We also explain results to patients on the spot.

We currently have short waiting times for appointments.

For more information visit www.corbett.com.au or ask your GP for a referral today.

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