Sudoscan is a non-invasive test that is used for assessing peripheral neuropathy. This condition occurs when there is damage to the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord. Specifically, the test allows us to measure the activity of your sweat glands when stimulated through your peripheral nerves. Our experts at Chetco Medical & Aesthetics in Gold Beach, OR use this test to personalize and monitor your treatment plans.
What Is the Sudoscan Test For?
Sudoscan is a patented test that we use for evaluating your sudomotor function. The test focuses on your body’s sweat glands and small nerve fibers, and the results of the test reveal important information about your health condition. By assessing the activity of your nerve fibers, we can monitor the progression of small fiber neuropathy.
In our practice, we use the Sudoscan to detect nerve damage early on. Early detection helps us manage and prevent your condition from worsening. Furthermore, we can also use it to determine whether you are at high-risk for developing complications.
How Does It Work?
The test is non-invasive and doesn’t require any fasting. It’s possible to feel a slight tingling during the test, but some patients feel no sensations. The Sudoscan test works by measuring how your sweat glands respond to small electrical currents. Specifically, it measures the ability of your sweat to release chloride ions.
How Is It Performed?
First, we’ll ask you to remove your socks and shoes for the test. Next, we’ll place your hands on steel sensor plates and ask you to stand on sensor plates for your feet. You’ll be required to stand still for a few minutes. However, if you are unable to remain standing for the test, we may ask you to sit instead.
During your test, we’ll apply a small electrical current on the sensor plates that come into contact with your hands and feet. A very low voltage will activate your sweat glands, which respond by releasing chloride ions. As your sweat glands become active, we will measure the conductance of the released ions. We will use this measurement as a marker to assess how well your nerve fibers stimulate your sweat glands.
How Are the Results Interpreted?
During your test, we will swap the polarity of the steel plates and get conductance values from the right and left sides of your body. We will compare the results between each side to determine any possible peripheral neuropathy. We may also use other testing parameters to provide you with an accurate diagnosis.
High conductance values correlate with healthy activity among small nerve fibers. However, low conductance values may be a sign of peripheral or autonomic neuropathy.
When Do the Results Become Available?
After completing each scan, your test results are readily available within minutes. We’ll compare any imbalance or asymmetry in the conductance values between the left and right sides of your body. We will use the information gathered from the test to gauge whether you have compromised small nerve fibers.
If your medical condition progresses, the test may need to be performed once again at a later date.
What Is Small Fiber Neuropathy?
Your peripheral nerves extend from your spinal cord and out into the rest of your body. Your hands, feet, legs, and arms all function with the help of your peripheral nerves. Additionally, you have small sensory fibers that are significantly smaller than other peripheral nerves. These small fibers are responsible for transmitting information about pain and temperature to your brain.
Patients who suffer from small fiber neuropathy have damaged small peripheral nerve fibers. This condition may cause unnecessary tingling, burning, and painful sensations. Some may feel numbness and often feel their symptoms in the feet and toes. As the condition progresses, symptoms may be felt all over the body or in the lower legs and hands.
What Causes Small Fiber Neuropathy?
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of small fiber neuropathy. Even those at high risk for diabetes may feel the symptoms of nerve damage. Because of this, we often link small fiber neuropathy with diabetes. However, autoimmune diseases and nutrient deficiencies can also cause nerve damage.
How Is It Diagnosed?
If you suspect that you may have nerve damage, we can review your medical history and perform a physical exam to assess your overall health. Testing your sudomotor function is one way we assess and diagnose your condition here at Chetco Medical. We may also order blood work and test for other possible illnesses to personalize your treatment plan.
Can It Be Treated?
To treat small fiber neuropathy, we first need to investigate the underlying cause of your condition. For example, if you have diabetes that has led to nerve damage, we can treat your condition by managing your blood sugar levels. We may also help you maintain a healthy weight, and recommend a change in diet. Getting regular exercise and making healthy lifestyle choices, such as quitting smoking, can also help restore your overall health.
Furthermore, we will monitor and customize your treatment plan based on how well your body responds. We may prescribe medication that reduces inflammation, pain, or immune activity.
Is It Possible To Live With Small Fiber Neuropathy?
Small fiber neuropathy has been linked with many diseases. Although it’s not possible to completely prevent neuropathy, there are ways you can slow the progression of your disease. We may also monitor your symptoms and manage your overall health to prevent complications.
By getting regular checkups at our office and following our health recommendations, you can successfully manage small fiber neuropathy and live a happy, satisfying lifestyle.
Make the Right Health Choices
Making the right lifestyle changes can slow down or stop the progression of your illness. For example, if diabetes is the underlying cause of your nerve damage, you can keep a healthy diet that helps control your blood sugar levels.
Minimizing stress, being physically active, and maintaining a healthy weight can also improve your health outcomes. And by quitting the use of tobacco and minimizing your alcohol consumption, you can control your blood pressure levels.
Engage in Regular Exercise
There are many health benefits associated with simple exercises, which include aerobics, stretching, and cardio. If you have small fiber neuropathy, you can start a simple but beneficial exercise routine to maintain your ideal body weight. Regular exercise also enhances your pain tolerance and lowers blood sugar levels.
Low or medium-intensity exercise boosts your heart rate and enhances blood circulation, supplying oxygen to your nerves and tissues. With increased oxygen supply, you can strengthen your nerve tissues and restore their optimal function. Additionally, being physically active helps you manage stress and anxiety, which often comes with small fiber neuropathy.
Get Proper Nutrition
Did you know that the foods you eat can defend you against many illnesses, including nerve damage? But if you already have an existing condition, you can successfully manage them by focusing on a diet that gives you the right nutrition. For example, if you are suffering from diabetes in connection to neuropathy, you’ll need to focus on consuming whole foods. We may also advise you to avoid processed, sugary foods like candy, pastries, and soda.
A healthy diet with vegetables, whole grains, and fruits is highly recommended for people who already have small fiber neuropathy. On other hand, gluten-rich foods, such as bread and pasta, must be avoided whenever possible. Nerve pain has been directly linked with gluten sensitivity, so avoiding gluten-rich foods may help you manage your condition.
Who Should Get Tested for Neuropathy?
Do you sometimes experience burning, tingling, and pain in your palms or feet? If so, then you may need to get tested for small fiber neuropathy. This condition affects millions of people. Underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, can put you at risk of developing small fiber neuropathy.
Fortunately, with early testing, we can help you identify your condition and treat it before it gets worse.
Schedule Your Consultation
Sudoscan gives us an insight into whether you are at risk for small fiber neuropathy. This test is also highly useful for people who are at risk of developing autonomic diseases and other serious illnesses. Are you wondering whether you need to get tested? To learn more about how we can help diagnose and manage your condition, contact Chetco Medical & Aesthetics in Gold Beach, OR, and schedule your consultation. We offer a range of medical services to maintain your health and wellbeing.