Types of Diabetic neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy: Types list
The list of types of Diabetic neuropathy mentioned in various sources includes:
The symptoms of neuropathy also depend on which
nerves and what part of the body is affected. Neuropathy may be diffuse,
affecting many parts of the body, or focal, affecting a single, specific
nerve and part of the body.
The two categories of diffuse neuropathy are
peripheral neuropathy affecting the feet and hands and autonomic
neuropathy affecting the internal organs.
The most common type of peripheral
neuropathy damages the nerves of the limbs, especially the feet. Nerves on
both sides of the body are affected. Common symptoms of this kind of
- Numbness or insensitivity to pain or temperature
- Tingling, burning, or prickling
- Sharp pains or cramps
- Extreme sensitivity to touch, even light touch
- Loss of balance and coordination.
These symptoms are often
worse at night.
The damage to nerves often results in loss of reflexes and muscle
weakness. The foot often becomes wider and shorter, the gait changes, and
foot ulcers appear as pressure is put on parts of the foot that are less
protected. Because of the loss of sensation, injuries may go unnoticed and
often become infected. If ulcers or foot injuries are not treated in time,
the infection may involve the bone and require amputation. However,
problems caused by minor injuries can usually be controlled if they are
caught in time. Avoiding foot injury by wearing well-fitted shoes and
examining the feet daily can help prevent amputations.
(also called visceral
Autonomic neuropathy is another form of diffuse
neuropathy. It affects the nerves that serve the heart and internal organs
and produces changes in many processes and systems.
Urination and sexual response
most often affects the organs that control urination and sexual function.
Nerve damage can prevent the bladder from emptying completely, so bacteria
grow more easily in the urinary tract (bladder and kidneys). When the
nerves of the bladder are damaged, a person may have difficulty knowing
when the bladder is full or controlling it, resulting in urinary
The nerve damage and circulatory problems of diabetes can also lead to
a gradual loss of sexual response in both men and women, although sex
drive is unchanged. A man may be unable to have erections or may reach
sexual climax without ejaculating normally.
Autonomic neuropathy can affect digestion.
Nerve damage can cause the stomach to empty too slowly, a disorder called
gastric stasis. When the condition is severe (gastroparesis), a person can
have persistent nausea and vomiting, bloating, and loss of appetite. Blood
glucose levels tend to fluctuate greatly with this condition.
If nerves in the esophagus are involved, swallowing may be difficult.
Nerve damage to the bowels can cause constipation or frequent diarrhea,
especially at night. Problems with the digestive system often lead to
Autonomic neuropathy can affect
the cardiovascular system, which controls the circulation of blood
throughout the body. Damage to this system interferes with the nerve
impulses from various parts of the body that signal the need for blood and
regulate blood pressure and heart rate. As a result, blood pressure may
drop sharply after sitting or standing, causing a person to feel dizzy or
light-headed, or even to faint (orthostatic hypotension).
Neuropathy that affects the cardiovascular system may also affect the
perception of pain from heart disease. People may not experience angina as
a warning sign of heart disease or may suffer painless heart attacks. It
may also raise the risk of a heart attack during general anesthesia.
Autonomic neuropathy can hinder the
body's normal response to low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, which makes it
difficult to recognize and treat an insulin reaction.
Autonomic neuropathy can affect the nerves
that control sweating. Sometimes, nerve damage interferes with the
activity of the sweat glands, making it difficult for the body to regulate
its temperature. Other times, the result can be profuse sweating at night
or while eating (gustatory sweating).
(including multiplex neuropathy)
Occasionally, diabetic neuropathy appears suddenly and affects specific
nerves, most often in the torso, leg, or head.
Focal neuropathy may cause:
- Pain in the front of a thigh
- Severe pain in the lower back or pelvis
- Pain in the chest, stomach, or flank
- Chest or abdominal pain sometimes mistaken for angina, heart attack,
- Aching behind an eye
- Inability to focus the eye
- Double vision
- Paralysis on one side of the face (Bell's palsy)
- Problems with hearing.
This kind of neuropathy is
unpredictable and occurs most often in older people who have mild
diabetes. Although focal neuropathy can be painful, it tends to improve by
itself after a period of weeks or months without causing long-term damage.
People with diabetes are also prone to developing compression
neuropathies. The most common form of compression neuropathy is carpal
tunnel syndrome. Asymptomatic carpal tunnel syndrome occurs in 20 to 30
percent of people with diabetes, and symptomatic carpal tunnel syndrome
occurs in 6 to 11 percent. Numbness and tingling of the hand are the most
common symptoms. Muscle weakness may also develop.
Diabetic Neuropathy Can Affect Virtually Every Part of the
Diffuse (Peripheral) Neuropathy
Diffuse (Autonomic) Neuropathy
- Digestive System
- Sexual organs
- Urinary tract
- Sweat glands
- Facial muscles
- Pelvis and lower back
(Source: excerpt from Diabetic Neuropathy The Nerve Damage of Diabetes: NIDDK
Diabetic neuropathy: Rare Types
Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:
Diabetic neuropathy: Related Disease Topics
More general medical disease topics related to Diabetic neuropathy include:
Research More About Diabetic neuropathy