Nearly half of those with diabetes develop neuropathy, but a growing concern is For many years, doctors have linked numbness and weakness in prediabetic patients, but a new John Hopkins study has found a direct link to prediabetes and neuropathy.
Furthermore, patients can experience pain that is often associated with diabetes. This can leave many patients confused and doctors scrambling to find an explanation for these symptoms.
Unfortunately, many physicians can misdiagnose the symptoms. Tests are run and the diagnosis is either wrong or inconclusive. This has lead John Hopkins to suggest that patients be tested for prediabetes and neuropathy much early than what is normal. In addition, there needs be prescreening done more frequently. It is estimated that more that 86 million have prediabetes and have no knowledge of it, causing them undue harm and months, if not year, of pain. Diabetic Neuropathy Symptoms:
- Numbness or reduced ability to feel pain or temperature changes
- A tingling or burning sensation
- Sharp pains or cramps
- Increased sensitivity to touch — for some people, even the weight of a bed sheet can be agonizing
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of reflexes, especially in the ankle
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Serious foot problems, such as ulcers, infections, deformities, and bone and joint pain
The John Hopkins’ study varied greatly from previous studies. It looked at the long-term effects of diabetes and subsequent neuropathy. It was found that nerve damage is not localized but can travel up the length of sensory nerves causes deterioration. And, those patients with prediabetes showed continued deterioration over the length of the study (three years), just like those who were already diagnosed with diabetes. Skin samples were also taken and they showed a 10 percent loss of in the density of the nerve cells over the three-month period. Long before this study the medical community has taken an active approach to treating and diagnosing prediabetes.
The American Medical Association has worked towards building awareness about prediabetes and urges doctors to prescreen at risk patients for the disease. In conjunction with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they are working to set up programs to promote prevention. If caught early patients can make lifestyle changes that include, exercise, change in diet, therapy and a host of other holistic and alternative treatments.