Have a symptom?
See what questions
a doctor would ask.

Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy: Introduction

Diabetic neuropathy is a complication of diabetes in which nerves are damaged due to long-term high levels of blood sugar or hyperglycemia. Diabetic neuropathy can affect many parts of the body including the legs, feet, bladder, heart, gastrointestinal system, and reproductive system.

Diabetic neuropathy generally develops slowly over a period of months as ongoing high blood sugar levels damage the nerves of the body. Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy can include a sensation of pain, numbness, tingling, or prickling that begins in the feet. In later stages of diabetic neuropathy, the hands can be affected as well. In some cases of diabetic neuropathy, the abnormal sensations can extend to the arms, legs, and trunk.

Diabetic neuropathy can also affect the muscles resulting in difficulty moving the feet, weakness, foot deformity, and atrophy. Other symptoms can affect movement and the function of certain organs, such as the bladder and organs in the gastrointestinal system. Blood pressure may also be affected. Diabetic neuropathy can also lead to complications. For more details about complications and symptoms, see symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.

There are three general types of diabetic neuropathy that affect the nerves of the nervous system. They include sensory neuropathy, also called peripheral neuropathy, in which the nerves the carry messages about sensation to the brain are damaged. Motor neuropathy occurs when the nerves that carry messages about movement from the brain to the muscles are damaged. Autonomic neuropathy occurs when the nerves the control involuntary actives of the body, such as digestion and sweating, are affected.

Diagnosing diabetic neuropathy begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination, including a neurological examination. A neurological exam evaluates the nervous system and such functions as reflexes, sensation, movement, balance, coordination, vision, and hearing. Blood pressure readings are taken, and they may drop abnormally when a person with diabetic neuropathy goes from a lying position to a standing position. This is called orthostatic hypotension. In addition, the pulse may be abnormally high. Blood sugar levels are also checked and monitored.

Tests may include an electromyography (EMG) which tests the nerve and electrical activity of muscles. A nerve conduction test may also be performed to test how fast the nerves transmit impulses.

A diagnosis of diabetic neuropathy and its cause can be delayed or missed because symptoms develop gradually. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of diabetic neuropathy.

Prevention of diabetic neuropathy is very important for people with diabetes, because there is no cure or treatment that can repair the damage that has been done to the nerves. For more information on prevention and treatment, refer to treatment of diabetic neuropathy. ...more »

Diabetic neuropathy: Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve disorder caused by diabetes. Symptoms of neuropathy include numbness and sometimes pain in the hands, feet, or ... more about Diabetic neuropathy.

Diabetic neuropathy: Nerve damage from diabetes affecting any body part; most commonly feet. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Diabetic neuropathy is available below.

Diabetic neuropathy: Symptoms

People with diabetic neuropathy can experience a variety of symptoms that include abnormal or unusual sensations. Symptoms include sensations of pain, numbness, pins and needles, tingling, or prickling that begins in the feet. In later stages, the hands can be affected as well. In some cases, the abnormal sensations can extend to the arms, legs, and trunk. ...more symptoms »

Diabetic neuropathy: Treatments

The first step in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy is prevention. Diabetic neuropathy cannot be cured and the damage done to the nerves cannot be repaired, so it is vital that people with diabetes prevent its occurrence.

Prevention includes a consistently following a plan to treat diabetes and normalize blood sugar levels as much as possible to prevent nerve damage. This generally ...more treatments »

Diabetic neuropathy: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of diabetic neuropathy and its cause may be delayed or missed because diabetic neuropathy generally develops gradually and people with the condition may be unaware of it until complications, such as gangrene, develop. In addition, some symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, such as weakness and difficulty walking or emptying the bladder, may be ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Diabetic neuropathy

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Diabetic neuropathy:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Diabetic neuropathy?

Diabetic neuropathy: Related Patient Stories

Types of Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Diabetic neuropathy:

Causes of Diabetic neuropathy

More information about causes of Diabetic neuropathy:

Disease Topics Related To Diabetic neuropathy

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Diabetic neuropathy:

Diabetic neuropathy: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

In-Depth Reports: Diagnosis and Misdiagnosis

Diabetes diagnosis and misdiagnosis (In-Depth Report): Detailed report on diabetes misdiagnoses, rare curable types, and less common diagnostic full report »

Misdiagnosis and Diabetic neuropathy

Metabolic syndrome often undiagnosed: Metabolic syndrome, also known as Syndrome X, is an often overlooked medical condition that causes a cluster of chronic symptoms. There are often four symptoms and conditions combined: more »

Heart attacks can be undiagnosed: Although the most severe symptoms of heart attack are hard to miss, there are varying degrees of severity. It more »

Heart attacks can be overdiagnosed: Although many people die from heart attacks, there are also many cases where people fear that they have a heart attack, but actually have something milder. Some of the conditions more »

Cluster of diseases with difficult diagnosis issues: There is a well-known list of medical conditions that are all somewhat difficult to diagnose, and all can present in a variety of different severities. Diseases in this more »

Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease is often over-diagnosed. Patients tend to assume that any memory loss or forgetulness symptom might more »

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions, more »

Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease. The reality is that there are more »

Poorly healing leg rashes a classic sign of chronic disease: Recurring leg rashes, or poorly healing leg rashes, are a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes, particularly of Type more »

Leg cramps at night a classic sign: The symptom of having leg muscle cramps, particularly at night, is a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes. However, more »

Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's. The disease Fragile more »

Over-diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension in obese patients: A diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension, particularly pulmonary arterial hypertension, is often a misdiagnosis in more »

Obesity-related conditions undiagnosed in children: A variety of conditions are associated with obesity (see obesity), but these tend to be undiagnosed more often in child patients than in more »

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of more »

Misdiagnosed weight-related causes of infertility: A woman's weight status can affect her level of fertility. Although obesity or overweight can in themselves reduce fertility, there are other weight-related or more »

Diabetic neuropathy: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Diabetic neuropathy

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Diabetic neuropathy:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Diabetic neuropathy, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Diabetic neuropathy: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Diabetic neuropathy

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Diabetic neuropathy

Medical research articles related to Diabetic neuropathy include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Diabetic neuropathy: Animations

Prognosis for Diabetic neuropathy

Prognosis for Diabetic neuropathy: Prognosis for diabetic neuropathy depends largely on management of diabetes, the underlying condition. Treating the diabetes may halt progression and improve symptoms of the neuropathy, but recovery is slow. The painful sensations of diabetic neuropathy may become severe enough to cause depression in some patients. (Source: excerpt from NINDS Diabetic Neuropathy Information Page: NINDS)

Research about Diabetic neuropathy

Visit our research pages for current research about Diabetic neuropathy treatments.

Clinical Trials for Diabetic neuropathy

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Diabetic neuropathy include:

Statistics for Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy: Broader Related Topics

Diabetic neuropathy Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Diabetic neuropathy, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic Neuropathy The Nerve Damage of Diabetes: NIDDK (Excerpt)

Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve disorder caused by diabetes. Symptoms of neuropathy include numbness and sometimes pain in the hands, feet, or legs. Nerve damage caused by diabetes can also lead to problems with internal organs such as the digestive tract, heart, and sexual organs, causing indigestion, diarrhea or constipation, dizziness, bladder infections, and impotence. In some cases, neuropathy can flare up suddenly, causing weakness and weight loss. Depression may follow. (Source: excerpt from Diabetic Neuropathy The Nerve Damage of Diabetes: NIDDK)

NINDS Diabetic Neuropathy Information Page: NINDS (Excerpt)

Diabetic neuropathy, a nerve disorder caused by diabetes, is characterized by a loss or reduction of sensation in the feet, and in some cases the hands, and pain and weakness in the feet. (Source: excerpt from NINDS Diabetic Neuropathy Information Page: NINDS)


By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use. Information provided on this site is for informational purposes only; it is not intended as a substitute for advice from your own medical team. The information on this site is not to be used for diagnosing or treating any health concerns you may have - please contact your physician or health care professional for all your medical needs. Please see our Terms of Use.

Home | Symptoms | Diseases | Diagnosis | Videos | Tools | Forum | About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Advertise