Coding Smarts: Be a Diabetic Neuropathy Vocab Champ

ICD-10 codes for diabetic neuropathy

Roughly 25 percent of people over 65 in the U.S. have diabetes, and about half of people with diabetes have some form of nerve damage. So there’s a good chance you’ll need to know the terms used for diabetic neuropathy ICD-10-CM codes at some point. Be ready with this quick list of medical definitions.

Are Any of These Diabetes Code Terms Unfamiliar?

Our focus here will be type 2 diabetes because that’s the most common form (90 to 95 percent, according to the CDC). Here are the ICD-10-CM codes for type 2 diabetes with neuropathy:

  • E11.40 (Type 2 diabetes mellitus with diabetic neuropathy, unspecified)
  • E11.41 (Type 2 diabetes mellitus with diabetic mononeuropathy)
  • E11.42 (Type 2 diabetes mellitus with diabetic polyneuropathy)
    • Type 2 diabetes mellitus with diabetic neuralgia
  • E11.43 (Type 2 diabetes mellitus with diabetic autonomic (poly)neuropathy)
    • Type 2 diabetes mellitus with diabetic gastroparesis
  • E11.44 (Type 2 diabetes mellitus with diabetic amyotrophy)
  • E11.49 (Type 2 diabetes mellitus with other diabetic neurological complication).

Study Definitions for the Top Diabetic Neuropathy Terms

For a better understanding of the diagnoses you’re coding, commit these words to memory. Like so many medical terms, if you know the meanings of the components of the word (like mono + neuro + pathy), you’ll be able to make an educated guess about what the whole word means. The terms go in the same order that you find them in the E11.4- codes.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus: The bodies of patients with type 2 diabetes either resist insulin’s effects or don’t produce enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates sugar’s movement into cells. Sugar, or glucose, then builds up in the blood. This may lead to complications, especially in the smallest blood vessels, like those for the nerves, kidneys, and eyes. There is no cure for type 2 diabetes, but careful diet, exercise, and, if necessary, medications or insulin therapy, can help patients manage the condition. Obese patients are at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Documentation should plainly state type 2 diabetes. For various reasons, including both treatment and coding, it is important to know that the diabetes is type 2, as opposed to type 1 (which is connected to an autoimmune disorder), gestational (which is related to pregnancy), or another kind.

Neuropathy: Neuro- refers to a nerve, nerves, or the nervous system, and -path refers to disease. So neuropathy, in short, is nerve damage. You’ll also see neuropathy referred to as peripheral neuropathy. The peripheral nervous system is the portion outside of the brain and spinal cord. Diabetes is the leading cause of peripheral neuropathy. See code E11.40.

Mononeuropathy: Doctors diagnose mononeuropathy when one nerve is affected. Mono- means one. See code E11.41.

Polyneuropathy: Poly- means many, and polyneuropathy is the term for neuropathy of several peripheral nerves. See code E11.42.

Neuralgia: Pain along the course of a nerve (or multiple nerves) is called neuralgia, with -algia meaning a painful condition. See E11.42.

Autonomic neuropathy: Autonomic neuropathy affects autonomic nerves. These are peripheral nerves that control body functions we don’t control ourselves, like blood pressure, digestion, and breathing. Auto- means self and -nom means usage, and together they basically mean self-controlling or independent. See E11.43. To expand your knowledge a little more, other peripheral nerve types include sensory nerves, which carry sense messages (like touch) to the spinal cord to reach the brain, and motor nerves, which carry messages from the brain to the muscles.

Gastroparesis: Gastro- refers to the stomach and -paresis is paralysis, so you can put together that gastroparesis is paralysis of the stomach. Nerve damage can cause the food to empty slowly or not at all. See autonomic neuropathy code E11.43.

Amyotrophy: Muscle tissue (myo-) wasting away or reducing in size (atrophy) is called amyotrophy. See E11.44.

What About You?

Do you find that the terms used in your provider’s documentation help point you to the correct ICD-10-CM code for diabetic neuropathy?

About 

Deborah works on a wide range of TCI SuperCoder projects, researching and writing about coding, as well as assisting with data updates and tool development for our online coding solutions. Since joining TCI in 2004, she’s covered the ins and outs of coding for radiology, cardiology, oncology and hematology, orthopedics, audiology, and more.

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