Diabetic Neuropathy and Lumbar Radiculopathy

Introduction

Diabetic neuropathy and lumbar radiculopathy are common medical conditions that might lead to serious complications. There are several preventive and treatment methods that can be applied in such cases, but these areas require further research. To trigger an in-depth analysis, it is necessary to formulate PICOT questions (Melnyk & Fineout-Overholt, 2014). The main goal of this paper is to explore diabetic neuropathy and lumbar radiculopathy to formulate PICOT questions related to these topics.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a medical condition that is caused by nerve damage occurring in patients with diabetes. A high level of glucose might injure nerve fibers in the body. Diabetic neuropathy mostly affects nerves in the legs. The symptoms of this medical condition depend on damaged nerves and vary from pain in limbs to digestive system dysfunction or even heart-related problems (“Diabetic neuropathy,” n.d.). The symptoms might be mild, but for some patients, they can be fatal. I am interested in this topic because I often see such patients at the hospital, and this medical condition is very common in people with diabetes. However, there are different methods to prevent complications or, at least, hinder the progress of this disorder. A healthy lifestyle and constant blood sugar control are among the most effective approaches.

There are several types of diabetic neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is the most common one, and it affects legs and arms. Autonomic neuropathy affects the nervous system that controls all organs in the body (“Diabetic neuropathy,” n.d.). Therefore, this type of neuropathy can damage each of them. Radiculoplexus neuropathy can damage nerves in the legs and develops mostly in people who suffer type two diabetes. The symptoms of radiculoplexus neuropathy usually affect only one side of the body.

Taking into account the mentioned above facts, the following PICOT question might be formulated to guide further research in this area: In elderly patients with diabetes (population), can constant blood sugar control (intervention) that includes the A1C test twice a year (time) be an effective preventive measure against the development of some types of diabetic neuropathy (outcome) compared to patients who do not check the level of blood glucose (comparison)?

Lumbar Radiculopathy

The damage of a spinal nerve usually results in radicular pain. Sometimes such pain can move down and affect legs. This type of soreness usually appears after or during some activities, for example, jogging. Numbness and weakness are other common symptoms of lumbar radiculopathy that occur as a result of inflammation or compression (“Lumbar radiculopathy,” n.d.). Also, several other conditions can cause this disorder. Foraminal stenosis, diabetes, or nerve injuries are some of the most common (“Lumbar radiculopathy,” n.d.). Lumbar radiculopathy is also a very interesting topic for me as this medical condition often develops in older adults who I often encounter at the clinic, and there are only a few conservative treatment methods that can help such patients.

Among the different measures, physical therapy and medication are the most effective. Such a course normally lasts for up to eight weeks. However, if non-surgical methods do not ease the symptoms, physicians often recommend spinal decompression surgery as it alleviates radicular pain in most cases. Also, for patients who suffer serious pain or weakness, decompression surgery might be performed instead of conservative treatment. Also, it is necessary to mention that if nerve damage cannot be confirmed by MRI or CT scan combined with myelography, the surgery is less likely to be effective.

The mentioned above facts allow formulating the following PICOT question: For elderly patients with lumbar radiculopathy (population), can traditional methods such as physical therapy and medications (intervention) during an eight-week course (time) be more effective in alleviating pain (outcome) than a decompression surgery (comparison)?

Conclusion

The mentioned above medical conditions are very common in elderly patients. However, treatment and preventive options are relatively limited. Therefore, it is necessary to continue research in these areas to find more effective solutions.

References

Diabetic neuropathy. (n.d.) Web.

Lumbar radiculopathy (nerve root compression). (n.d.) Web.

Melnyk, B. M., & Fineout-Overholt, E. (Eds.). (2014). Evidence-based practice in nursing & healthcare: A guide to best practice (3rd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.