Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

The four types of diabetic neuropathies involve:

  • Peripheral distal symmetry polyneuropathy: It is the most common form of neuropathy. It affects the nerves going to the legs, feet, hands, and arms.
  • Autonomic neuropathy: It affects the autonomic nerves that control the majority of the body’s function.
  • Proximal motor neuropathy: This type of neuropathy causes muscle weakness. It mainly affects the muscles in the upper part of the legs, buttocks, and hips.
  • Focal mononeuropathy: In this type of neuropathy, only one specific type of nerves are affected.

What is diabetic neuropathy?

Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy can be extremely painful. It can also lead to life-threatening health conditions like foot ulcers, amputations, heart attacks, digestion problems, and low blood sugar. Neuropathy mainly occurs due to high blood sugar for a prolonged period.

What are the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy?

The symptoms of diabetic neuropathy differ in different types of neuropathy, which include:

Peripheral neuropathy: Symptoms include:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Burning especially in the evening
  • Pain

Autonomic neuropathy: It affects the digestive system, blood vessels, urinary system, and sex organs. Symptoms of the digestive system include:

If the nerves supplying blood vessels are affected, symptoms are:

Symptoms when the urinary system is affected:

Symptoms when sex organs are affected:

Proximal neuropathy: Symptoms include:

  • Pain in one side (thighs, hips, or buttocks)
  • Weakness in the leg

Cranial neuropathy: Symptoms include:


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Who are at risk of diabetic neuropathy?

Factors that may further increase the risk of diabetic neuropathy include:

What are the complications of diabetic neuropathy?

Diabetic neuropathy, if left untreated, can cause the following complications:

How is diabetic neuropathy treated?

Management of diabetic neuropathy include:

  • Control of blood sugar level
  • Pain control
  • Foot care to prevent complications

To prevent complications of the foot, tips for proper care of feet include:

  • Check your feet and legs daily
  • Use lotion to smoothen dry feet
  • Take proper care of your toenails
  • Wear proper-fitting shoes
  • Visit your doctor once a year for foot examination

Other preventive measures include:

  • Taking smaller meals
  • Avoid standing up too quickly
  • Wearing special stockings
  • Quitting cigarette smoking

Ways to control blood sugar include:

  • Regular monitoring of blood sugar level
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise can lower the blood glucose level
  • Take insulin along with oral medications

Physical therapy, medications, or surgery may also be useful in relieving certain symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.

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