Diabetic Neuropathy: Medical History and Physical Exam
When you have diabetic neuropathy, your doctor will get your
medical history and may
ask you about the following:
What kinds of symptoms are you
How long you have had the symptoms?
What makes them better?
What medicines are you taking? Bring a
complete list of medicines that you are taking, or bring the medicines with
Are you having frequent high blood sugar
Are you having frequent low blood sugar levels?
What kind of physical activity do you get? How
Do you smoke?
Do you drink
Are you following your diabetes diet?
Your doctor will also give you a physical exam. During the
exam, the doctor may check:
Your response to light touch, pressure,
temperature, movement, repositioning, 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 see 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 check your sensation of
vibration. These tests should be done on both feet.
Your reflexes, especially those in your ankles and
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.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.