Neurophysiological findings in diabetic neuropathy

We are reviewing the main neurophysiological findings of the diabetic neuropathy Neurophysiological examinaton is crucial for astablishing a diagnosis of the above condition. The use of various neurophysiological techniques and confounding variables that may alter the findings are also cited. The commonest type of Diabetic Neuropathy is Diabetic Symmetrical Polyneuropathy, for which we report the most frequent characteristics and diagnostic errors. Furthermore, we examine the attack of Facial neuropathy with regard to Diabetic Cranial Mononeuropathy, alongside the damage of the Autonomous Nervous System.

The use of neurophysiological methods for the assesment of potential problems with the nerves of diabetic patients begun 40 years ago with the use of neurophysiological studies. However, over the years the importance of neurophysiology in detecting early changes in peripheral nerves has been well established, as it can provide information on the type and degree of polyneuropathy and establish differential diagnosis between axonal and demyelinating disease. Factors influencing neurophysiological results include age and personal characteristics such as obesity, state of diabetes and comorbidity.

We cite the main neurophysiological findings in the light of the following conditions:

Diabetic Symmetrical Polyneuropathy, Diabetic Cranial Mononeuropathy, Diabetic Autonomous Neuropathy, Diabetic Neuropathetic Cachexia, Diabetic Neuropathy of the upper limbs, Hyperglycemic Polyneuropathy, Multiple Diabetic Mononeuropathy.

In the context of radiculopathy, we examined the involvement of L2-L4 root (Diabetic Amyotrophy), whilst we looked at the Femoral and Tibial nerve (Diabetic Drop Foot) for the lower limbs, and Median, Ulnar and Radial nerve for the upper limbs, emphasizing on conditions that may produce diagnostic confusion.

Key words: Diabetic polyneuropathy, Neurophysiology.