(MENAFN - Gulf Times) A leading researcher at Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar (WCM-Q) has published a paper highlighting the risk of misdiagnosing diabetic neuropathy, a common diabetes-related complication.
Dr Rayaz Malik, WCM-Q professor of medicine, explained that diabetic neuropathy - nerve damage - presents with very similar symptoms to other diseases of the nervous system, particularly chronic inflammatory demyelinating neuropathy, known as CIDP.
Diabetic neuropathy cannot be reversed but CIDP can often be treated extremely effectively, preventing the progression of debilitating symptoms.
Dr Malik explained, 'When diabetes patients present with neurological disorders it is understandable that doctors attribute this to diabetic neuropathy because it is such a common complication. However, our research showed that a significant minority of patients diagnosed with diabetic neuropathy, actually have CIDP, which is far more treatable and has much better
Diabetic neuropathy is a condition in which the peripheral nerves are damaged due to high blood glucose and vascular risk factors like high blood pressure, and lipids as well as being overweight. Treatment is based on controlling blood glucose, blood pressure and lipids with drugs and dietary changes.
In contrast, in CIDP the nerve damage occurs because the body's immune system erroneously attacks the myelin sheath, a fatty structure that covers and protects nerves as well as the axons.
Dr Malik added, 'Because nerve damage cannot currently be reversed in diabetic neuropathy it is very important that patients who have CIDP are correctly diagnosed and treated as early as possible so that we limit long-term nerve damage.
Dr Malik has also recently published groundbreaking research into the genetic basis of another type of neuropathy: familial neuropathic chronic itch, which was shown to be associated with COL6A5, a gene, which encodes a protein from which the connective
tissue collagen is made.