This week on Beating Neuropathy and Chronic Pain, we’ll talk a bit about how neuropathy can be diagnosed. Unfortunately, nowadays, due to insurance hurdles, proper laboratory tests are often not administered in time to make an early diagnosis. Neuropathy-causing conditions such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome can be diagnosed by observing trends in blood tests. Patients with metabolic syndrome that develop peripheral neuropathy are often diagnosed with “idiopathic” (of unknown origin) neuropathy because doctors may overlook all the evidence.
One of the things NeuropathyDR clinicians do is observe all laboratory tests for the past five years to try and observe trends other physicians may have missed. Something that may cause neuropathy, in addition to diabetes and metabolic syndrome, is Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease is endemic to the Northeastern U.S. and some other areas. It is important to seek treatment quickly for Lyme Disease (or ANY infectious disease) if you suspect you have it–even if a rash is not present. Lyme Disease is most accurately diagnosed using the Western Blot test.
Another problem that can arise when diagnosing neuropathy is when not enough tests are performed and conditions can slip under the radar. One of the most under-diagnosed conditions is thyroid disease. The most common symptom of thyroid disease is unexplained fatigue. Tests for thyroid disease include TSH, T3, and others. It is also important to get diagnosis and treatment for thyroid disease early on, because it can cause peripheral neuropathy and other debilitating conditions.
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