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'Beware of nerve damage misdiagnosis risk in diabetes patients'

'Beware of nerve damage misdiagnosis risk in diabetes patients'

Tribune News Network
A LEADING researcher at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) has published a paper highlighting the risk of misdiagnosing diabetic neuropathy, a common diabetes-related complication.
WCM-Q Professor of Medicine Dr Rayaz Malik explained that diabetic neuropathy, nerve damage, presents with very similar symptoms to other diseases of the nervous system, particularly chronic inflammatory demyelinating neuropathy, known as CIDP.
Telling the two apart is crucially important because diabetic neuropathy cannot be reversed but CIDP can often be treated effectively, preventing the progression of debilitating symptoms like sensory loss, pain and weakness with impaired movement.
Dr Malik said,"When diabetes patients present with neurological disorders, it is understandable that doctors attribute this to diabetic neuropathy because it is such a common complication. However, our research showed that a significant minority of patients diagnosed with diabetic neuropathy, actually have CIDP, which is far more treatable and has much better outcomes. We, therefore, believe there is a very strong argument for finessing clinical approaches in order to prevent misdiagnosis and ultimately improve outcomes for patients."
Diabetic neuropathy is a condition in which the peripheral nerves are damaged owing to high blood glucose and vascular risk factors like high blood pressure and lipids as well as being overweight. Treatment is based on controlling blood glucose, blood pressure and lipids with drugs and dietary changes.
In contrast, in CIDP, the nerve damage occurs because the body's immune system erroneously attacks the myelin sheath, a fatty structure that covers and protects nerves as well as the axons. Although nerve damage cannot be reversed in either disease, the CIDP can be controlled effectively with immunosuppressant drug therapies.
Dr Malik added,"Since nerve damage cannot currently be reversed in diabetic neuropathy, it is very important that patients who have CIDP are correctly diagnosed and treated as early as possible so that we limit long-term nerve damage."
Dr Malik and his research colleagues reported their findings in a review paper titled 'CIDP and other inflammatory neuropathies in diabetes diagnosis and management', published in the journal Nature Reviews Neurology. The paper was also contributed to by researchers at Aston University in the UK, and University Hospital Essen and Heinrich-Heine University in Germany.


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