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Physical Exam for Diabetic Neuropathy

Since early diabetic neuropathy may not cause symptoms, a careful examination to check for signs of neuropathy is very important. During the physical examination, the doctor may check:

  • Your response to light touch, pressure, temperature, and vibration, particularly in your feet and legs. Simple tests can be used to screen for loss of sensation. The doctor may touch the end of your toe with a cotton wisp or a thin plastic fiber (called a monofilament test) to assess whether you sense light touch or pressure. To evaluate your sensation of temperature, a cold metal tuning fork may be held to your leg; a vibrating tuning fork may be touched to your foot to assess your sensation of vibration. These tests should be done on both feet.
  • Your muscle strength.
  • Your reflexes, especially those in your ankles and knees.
  • Your blood pressure and pulse and how they change when you are in certain positions (lying down, sitting, standing).

During every visit, your doctor needs to examine your feet for cracked or peeling skin, excessive or reduced sweating, blisters, calluses, ulcers, signs of infection, bone and joint abnormalities, and other problems. You should have a complete foot exam at least once a year.

Recommended Related to Diabetes

Traveling With Diabetes

If you have diabetes, traveling for vacation or business requires extra planning. Changes in meal patterns, activity levels, and time zones can affect your blood sugar levels. That's why it's important to have some key reminders to make traveling with diabetes much easier.

Read the Traveling With Diabetes article > >

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Barrie J. Hurwitz, MD - Neurology
Last Revised May 13, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 13, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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