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J Med Clin Nurs



Detecting Peripheral Neuropathy in Patients with Diabetes, Prediabetes and other High-Risk Conditions: An Advanced Practice Nurse’s Perspective.


A common complication of diabetes, HIV infection, and other chronic systemic conditions and exposures, distal sensory peripheral neuropathy is increasingly prevalent worldwide; the physical, mental, and economic burdens are significant. As no curative therapies exist to date, early detection of peripheral neuropathy (PN) affords patients the best chance to reverse it through education, intensive lifestyle modifications, and multidisciplinary management. Concerning diabetic PN, obstacles to effective screening include low clinical priority, failure to screen patients during prediabetes, confusion regarding methods and goals of testing, and possibly inexperience with thermal testing. Providers and advanced practice nurses are well-positioned to advocate for and implement early PN detection programs, screen for complications including sleep and mood disorders, promote multidisciplinary management, identify strategies to reduce pain and other PN symptoms, and counsel patients regarding many aspects of safety and self-care for improved quality of life. This manuscript provides a brief overview of PN with an emphasis on diabetic PN, a discussion of the aforementioned obstacles to effective screening, and a summary of recommendations to improve PN identification in clinical practice.