Des Moines is known as being a pretty boring city, but there are plenty of reasons to go there. The biggest reason is that it is home to many diabetics. This may sound strange until you consider that there are over 30 million diabetics in the United States alone! If we look at just Des Moines alone, we can see that its population is roughly 250k people (or about 1% of all Americans with diabetes). That’s not such a small number! However, nerve testing can be very painful for patients and therefore not done too often unless absolutely necessary. Fortunately, technology has changed the way diabetic neuropathy testing occurs: now instead of requiring physical therapists or other clinicians to come into your office building (which costs money), we can now perform this test right at home using our smartphones!
Nerve testing is not only a pain to do, but often times painful itself.
As a physical therapist, I am constantly asked about nerve testing. Nerve testing can be a very important part of your diabetes management. However, it is not always easy to do or get reimbursed for.
The way I see it, there are two main reasons why a patient may want to have nerve testing completed:
- To determine if they have diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) or some other type of neuropathy that is not caused by diabetes
- To know if they have “sub-clinical” (not yet clinically evident but could develop into) diabetic neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy is very common in the United States.
Diabetic neuropathy is a common and serious complication of diabetes. It affects up to 50% of people with diabetes. It can be painful, debilitating and sometimes fatal. People with diabetic neuropathy may experience numbness in the feet, hands or other areas, muscle weakness and pain in the extremities, erectile dysfunction or impotence, urinary incontinence (lack of control over bladder muscles), loss of sensation in the feet that causes walking difficulties or falls due to unawareness of things like stepping on an object or uneven ground, burning sensation in the feet when wearing socks or shoes without socks; painful erection during sexual intercourse due to dry skin from lack of sensation.
Diabetic neuropathy is caused by high blood sugar levels damaging nerve fibers in your body resulting in “electric shock” like sensations that some describe as “energy zapping through their body” but others describe as feeling like “needles pricking their skin all over their body”
Nerve testing can be time consuming and inaccurate.
Nerve testing can be time consuming and inaccurate. Nerve testing allows your doctor to see how insulin is affecting your body by measuring glucose levels in the blood.
It takes about an hour, but it’s limited by technology as well as being traditionally done in an office setting.
The test still requires a finger prick for each sample, which means patients have to stick themselves multiple times throughout the process and then fill out paperwork afterward. Many insurance companies won’t cover this test because it takes too long and doesn’t always provide accurate results.
Often times nerve testing is not reimbursed by insurance companies.
Often times, nerve testing is not reimbursed by insurance companies. The reimbursement rates are low and can’t justify the time and effort it takes for a test.
Typically, you’re going to be reimbursed $15-20 per test, depending on whether or not your patient was already diagnosed with diabetes. Because of this, many people don’t perform these tests because they feel that it’s not worth their time or money when there are patients who could benefit from the information being gathered through this type of testing.
Many insurance companies also don’t cover blood glucose monitoring supplies like strips (which can cost anywhere between $0-$200 per month). This means that if you’re diabetic and use them regularly (as most diabetics do), then you may have to pay out of pocket for them until your health care provider gets approval from your insurance company before they’ll reimburse what has been spent on these items thus far.
Currently, nerve testing is limited by technology.
Nerve testing is a painless, noninvasive procedure that can be done in the office. It’s also very accurate, with results available instantly and repeatable for follow-up care. Currently, the technology to perform this test is limited by the size of the nerve and its distance from the skin surface. In other words, we can’t test nerves that are too deep or too far away from your feet to get accurate readings (yet!).
Traditionally, nerve testing has been completed by physical therapists in an office setting.
Traditionally, nerve testing has been completed by physical therapists in an office setting. This is because a person with diabetes may have decreased sensation in their feet or other parts of the body which make it uncomfortable to receive the needle, and this is easily accomplished when they are at home.
Diabetic neuropathy can become very dangerous if not treated immediately and properly.
The good news is that there are many treatments for diabetic neuropathy, including medications, surgery and physical therapy. Lifestyle changes can also be very effective in managing the condition.
The key to treating diabetic neuropathy is making sure you get it treated as soon as possible. If left untreated for too long, your symptoms will worsen and become dangerous to yourself and others around you.
There are a lot of diabetics in Des Moines (and the US for that matter), but there’s a very quick and easy way to test their nerves with no pain involved at all!
There is a lot of diabetes in Des Moines. This means there are also a lot of people with diabetic neuropathy. And if you have diabetic neuropathy, you know that it can be difficult to live your life without pain. Your feet may feel like they’re on fire, or your hands may feel numb and tingly.
But what if there was an easy way to test the nerve function in these areas? What if that test could be done in an office setting and didn’t involve any needles at all? Well, there is such a thing! It’s called Nerve Conduction Velocity (NCV) testing and it allows us to detect how fast information travels along certain nerves in your body. When these nerves don’t work properly because of damage from diabetes or another cause (such as chemotherapy), NCV can tell us exactly where those problems lie so we can treat them accordingly!
Nerve testing is important for diabetics, but it can be time consuming, painful and even inaccurate. It’s time to think outside the box when it comes to nerve testing!