A number of testsmay be used to diagnose peripheral neuropathy andits underlying cause.
When you see your GP,they'llask about your symptoms and examine the affected area of your body. This may involve testing sensation, strength and reflexes.
Your doctor mayalso arrange blood tests, especially to check forcauses such as diabetes or Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia .
Some people may need to see a neurologist (a specialist in conditions affecting the nervous system)in hospital for further tests such as:
NCS and EMGare usually carried out at the same time.
Your GP can usually identify the underlying cause of a peripheral neuropathy.
If diabetes is suspected, they can usually make a confident diagnosis based onyour symptoms, a physical examination and checking the levels of glucose in your blood and urine.
If you're taking a medication known to cause peripheral neuropathy, your GP maytemporarily stop or reduce your dose to see whether your symptoms improve.
If the cause is uncertain, you may be referred to a neurologist for more extensive blood tests to check:
You may need a lumbar puncture to test the cerebrospinal fluid (a clear, colourless fluid that surrounds and supports the brain and spinal cord) for inflammation.
Occasionally, a nerve biopsy may be carried out as part of your diagnosis. This is a minor surgical procedure where a small sample of a peripheral nerve is removed from near your ankle so it can be examined under a microscope.
It's then checked for changesthat could be a sign of certain types of peripheral neuropathy. However, nerve biopsies are rarely needed.
You may also needa scan to look for any underlying cause of your neuropathy, such as:
Read about peripheral neuropathy, a term for a group of conditions in which the peripheral nervous system is damaged.
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy vary according to the type of peripheral neuropathy you have. They may develop quickly or slowly
Read about the causes of peripheral neuropathy. In the UK, the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes.
Read about how peripheral neuropathy is diagnosed. A number of tests can be used to diagnose peripheral neuropathy and any underlying cause.
Read about treatments for peripheral neuropathy, which may include treating any underlying cause as well as any symptoms you're experiencing.
Read about complications of peripheral neuropathy including foot ulcers, gangrene and cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy (CAN)