10-minute home test has ‘key role’ to play in early detection of diabetes-related foot problems

A simple, non-invasive home test that can detect nerve damage early on offers hope to people at risk of developing serious complications such as foot ulcers and amputations and an early death.

Neuropad, a painless 10-minute test, has been described as like a ‘canary in the coal mine’ as it is able to provide an early indicator of nerve damage before someone with diabetes is even aware there is a problem.

Early identification of nerve damage – known medically as peripheral neuropathy – means treatment can start early and reduce the risk of serious complications, including ulceration and amputation.

Damage to the nerves in the feet due to diabetes can result in the sweat glands not producing enough moisture, a condition known as sudomotor dysfunction.

Neuropad, which is stuck to the sole of each foot like a sticking plaster, checks for nerve damage by detecting minute quantities of sweat.

The Neuropad test patch is blue to start with and should turn pink within 10 minutes of being applied due to the presence of moisture from sweating, which indicates a normal result.

If the Neuropad test patch stays blue, or if it turns a patchy blue/pink, it indicates the user may have some level of nerve damage and that their sweat glands are not working properly as there is not enough moisture to complete the colour change.

John Simpson is the managing director of the company that has introduced Neuropad to the UK.

He said: “Prevention is always better than cure. The Neuropad test gives people a better chance of avoiding serious foot complications that arise from nerve damage, including amputation. Astonishingly around a third of people with diabetes aren’t even aware that foot problems are a common complication. People with diabetes would be even more alarmed if they knew that the five-year mortality rate following a foot ulcer is almost identical to all cancers combined. I believe that people with diabetes are being failed through inadequate foot screening.”

Find out more by visiting the Neuropad website here.

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