A professional medical billing company in U.S., Outsource Strategies International (OSI) has years of experience in serving diverse medical specialties. For any medical specialties and the treated conditions, our skilled medical coders will review the physician’s documentation and assign the right medical codes for better reimbursement.

In today’s podcast, Natalie Tornese one of our Senior Solutions Managers discusses the cause, symptoms and diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy.

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Hello everyone and welcome to our podcast series!

My name is Natalie Tornese and I’m a Senior Solutions Manager at Outsource Strategies International (OSI). I wanted to take this opportunity to talk to you about Peripheral Neuropathy.

The peripheral nervous system consists of a network of nerves that connects the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. Peripheral neuropathy develops when these nerves become diseased or damaged and disrupt the communication between the brain and other parts of the body. The nerve damage can cause pain, impair muscle movement, and affect normal sensation in the arms and legs.

There are different types of neuropathy. There is mononeuropathy, which refers to the damage to a single peripheral nerve. Polyneuropathy is a condition where multiple peripheral nerves throughout the body malfunction at the same time.

Hereditary neuropathies are genetically passed from parent to child. Acquired neuropathies are caused by environmental factors such as toxins, trauma, illness, or infection. When the cause cannot be identified, the condition is called idiopathic neuropathy.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), there are more than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy. An estimated 30 million Americans suffer from some type of this disease. Common causes of neuropathy include:

  • Diabetes
  • Trauma
  • Medications, especially certain chemotherapy agents, drugs to treat HIV infection, anticonvulsant drugs, heart and blood pressure medications
  • Nutritional and vitamin deficiencies or
  • Long-standing alcohol abuse
  • Kidney, liver and lung disease, or other critical illness
  • Hypothyroidism, Pituitary disorders
  • Infections and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Benign or cancerous tumors that put pressure on the nerves and
  • Exposure to environmental and industrial toxins

The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy depend on which nerves are affected: sensory, motor, or autonomic. Common symptoms can include: muscle weakness, cramping, atrophy; loss of reflexes, coordination and balance; extreme sensitivity to touch; blurred vision; decreased or excessive sweating, heat intolerance; difficulty swallowing or breathing; inability to sweat; dizziness and fainting, and sexual dysfunction.

How will someone be diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy?

There’s a thorough medical history and physical exam, which will always be the first step in diagnosing it. Based on the results, the neurologist may order a nerve conduction and nerve function test, EMG, biopsy, imaging tests that’s what identify tumors, herniated discs, or other abnormalities that could be exerting pressure on the nerves. Blood tests and other lab exams will be recommended to understand the underlying conditions that may cause neuropathy or cause complications.

I will include a transcript of the ICD-10 codes of peripheral neuropathy along with this podcast.

I hope this helps. But always remember that documentation and a thorough knowledge of payer regulations and guidelines is critical to ensure accurate reimbursement for the procedures performed.

Thank you for listening!