Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage associated with diabetes. It results in damage to the nerves in a person’s feet, legs, eyes, and those controlling bodily functions, such as digestion, blood pressure and heart rate. Diabetic neuropathy can lead to serious complications, including ulcers
Nerves of the Foot
Researchers believe that diabetic neuropathy is likely caused by a combination of factors, including:
The following factors are thought to increase the risk of diabetic neuropathy:
- Older age
- Having diabetes
Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy may include:
- Numbness in the extremities
- Tingling in the extremities
- Pain in the extremities
- Wasting of the muscles of the feet or hands
- Nausea or vomiting
- Drooping eyelid
- Drooping mouth
- Facial Droop
- Difficulty swallowing.
If you have diabetic neuropathy, you are at increased risk for developing other types of neuropathies, such as
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Other tests may include:
- Foot exam—to assess sensation in the foot
- Nerve conduction studies
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:
Blood Glucose Management
It is important to regularly monitor blood glucose levels. You can bring them within normal range with meal planning, exercise, and/or medications.
If you have diabetic neuropathy, you will need to take special care of your feet, since the nerves in the feet are the ones most often affected by neuropathy. This care will involve regular visits to a foot doctor and careful cleaning, inspection, moisturizing, and grooming of your feet. In addition, always wearing well-fitting shoes or slippers and thick, soft, seamless socks can help protect your feet from injuries.
Other treatments will depend on your symptoms. Medications can be used to relieve pain, burning, tingling, or numbness. Oftentimes, the medications used to treat these symptoms are the same types of medications used to treat
Modifying your diet and/or taking
If you are diagnosed with diabetic neuropathy, follow your doctor's instructions .
American Diabetes Association
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse
Canadian Diabetes Association
American Academy of Neurology practice parameters for diagnostic testing for distal symmetric polyneuropathy. Neurology. December 3, 2008.
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Last reviewed January 2009 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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