Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve disorder caused by diabetes. Over time, uncontrolled blood sugar levels can damage nerves throughout the body.

Common symptoms are numbness, burning, pain, or tingling in the feet or legs, which can lead to serious problems with infected foot sores going unnoticed. Eventually, problems with dizziness, digestion (such as diarrhea or constipation), sexual function, bladder infections, and impotence can develop. Diabetic neuropathy can also develop suddenly and cause double vision, drooping eyelids, and weakened or wasting thigh muscles.

There is no cure for diabetic neuropathy. Treatment includes consistently keeping blood sugar levels within a narrow and tightly controlled target range and taking good care of the feet to help prevent infections.

Last Updated: June 3, 2008

Author: Caroline Rea, RN, BS, MS

Medical Review: Martin Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Barrie J. Hurwitz, MD - Neurology

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