My diabetic friend, has also been diagnosed with a functional neurological disorder. So is she actually ill, or not?
‘Functional’ symptoms are symptoms that people experience without any underlying cause being found, despite extensive tests. This isn’t the same as making them up for sympathy or personal/financial gain. They feel very real, but with no outward signs and negative tests, not being believed can add to the sufferers’ distress.
Patients with diabetes mellitus may, directly or indirectly, encounter a variety of disturbances which affect the central and peripheral nervous system – impacting their diabetes and its management.
Clearly, serious diseases must be fully ruled out before calling symptoms ‘functional’, but the term functional neurological disorder covers a wide range of unexplained symptoms such as weakness, pain, dizziness, faintness, blackouts, fatigue, bladder/bowel disturbance and problems with walking, sleep, mental health and many others – not all symptoms of FND are invisible.
Most of us accept that our minds and bodies are linked, but it’s not yet clear how the nervous system can appear to malfunction without any clear abnormality on scans. However, a diagnosis that symptoms are ‘functional’ opens the door to different treatment approaches aimed at reducing their impact, helping sufferers to maximise what they can do and to improve their wellbeing and quality of life. These might include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychological therapy, medication and complementary or alternative medicines.
A range of potential risk factors include predispositions like – female sex, younger age, emotional and personality disorders, co-existence of health issues like diabetes, difficulty in interpersonal relationships, stressful life events, adverse childhood experience, exposure to similar symptoms amongst family or friends and probable genetic vulnerbility.
The precipitating factors include – medical illness, physical injury, panic attacks and impacting life events.
In conclusion, your friends needs a comprehensive neurological workup of the whole body, to make sure that doctors understand all of the elements of her condition.
E305 – Diabetic about Town with Functional Neurological Disorder – www.diabetic.today