Detection of diabetic peripheral neuropathy

Ann Poynten, Jessica Anderson



Patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy may have few symptoms but are at risk of developing foot ulcers and Charcot deformities. Early detection of diabetic neuropathy is therefore important to identify patients who would benefit from tighter glycaemic control and attention to contributing risk factors to help prevent the development of these complications.

Key Points

  • Peripheral neuropathy may be present at diagnosis of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
  • Peripheral neuropathy may be present without symptoms.
  • Both symptomatic and asymptomatic peripheral neuropathy places the person at risk of ulceration.
  • Patients with significant peripheral neuropathy benefit from podiatry review.
  • An atypical presentation, such as asymmetry or prominent early motor signs, warrants nerve conduction studies and referral of the patient to a neurologist.

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