Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Peripheral Neuropathy

For the last month or so, I've been having some numbness in my left foot. I ignored it for a while because it was not too bad. However, when it persisted for this long, I went and met with my nephrologist, Dr. Girish Narayen a few days back.

He sounded very worried and said we should not take chances and should investigate this thoroughly. When I asked him what he was thinking this could be, he said these could be early symptoms of a stroke. He asked me to consult with a neurophysician.

It would be three days before I would see the neurophysician. I was actually very scared. The things I read up on strokes on the internet and what I had heard in the past made me visualize myself in all kinds of situations and my mind was imagining the worst.

On Monday, I met Dr. Srikant Jawalkar, the head of neurology at Yashoda Hospital. He did a preliminary examination and asked me to get a brain CT scan, a carotid doppler and Nerve Conduction Studies done. The same day I got all these done.

Yesterday I went with the reports to Dr. Jawalkar. We had the diagnosis. The CT and the doppler were normal. The Nerve Conduction Studies showed some damage to the nerves in my feet. Thankfully, there was nothing that showed a risk for strokes.

This damage to the nerves is called Peripheral Neuropathy. It is often seen in people on dialysis for a long time. It does not happen to all but it is seen in some people. So, obviously I had to have it!

He put me on some medication and said there was nothing to worry. We would review after about a month.

I was really relieved that it was not serious.

The problem with the human body is that it is designed to function as a symbiotic whole. When anything goes wrong with one part of it, it sets off a gradual chain reaction in almost all other parts of it. It is not like your good 'component' based design in software where one component should function independently of the other components! If a change is made to one component, it should not affect other components. Someone needs a course in good design principles!

2 comments:

Madras Hash said...

Carotid doppler and nerve conduction would have been enough for the first cut. The brain CT scan was to perhaps help the hospital billing target. Ask the question: "What do you expect to see, and what will you be able to do about it?" and half the prescribed tests disappear. Peripheral neuropathy is something all diabetics are likely to succumb to in the later stages of their life. You learn to live with it - proper footwear, regular checking of feet to see that there is no wound (that you cannot feel) that can turn gangrenous if left untreated, etc..

James said...

You did the right thing by not ignoring the symptoms and seeking immediate medical attention. Early treatment of peripheral neuropathy is key in taming the symptoms and having a hope of retaining your lifestyle.