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Review William J. Mullally, MD, Neurology Series Editor| Volume 131, ISSUE 9, P1010-1016, September 2018

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Approach to Peripheral Neuropathy for the Primary Care Clinician

Published:February 02, 2018DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2017.12.042

      Abstract

      Peripheral neuropathy is commonly encountered in the primary care setting and is associated with significant morbidity, including neuropathic pain, falls, and disability. The clinical presentation of neuropathy is diverse, with possible symptoms including weakness, sensory abnormalities, and autonomic dysfunction. Accordingly, the primary care clinician must be comfortable using the neurologic examination—including the assessment of motor function, multiple sensory modalities, and deep tendon reflexes—to recognize and characterize neuropathy. Although the causes of peripheral neuropathy are numerous and diverse, careful review of the medical and family history coupled with limited, select laboratory testing can often efficiently lead to an etiologic diagnosis. This review offers an approach for evaluating suspected neuropathy in the primary care setting. It will describe the most common causes, suggest an evidence-based workup to aid in diagnosis, and highlight recent evidence that allows for selection of symptomatic treatment of patients with neuropathy.

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