Diabetic neuropathy: Types, symptoms, and causes

We include products we think are utilitarian for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. here ’ s our process. Diabetic neuropathy is a complication of diabetes that results in wrong to the nervous system. It is a progressive disease, and symptoms get worse over clock time.

Neuropathy happens when high levels of fats or sugar in the blood price the nerves in the body. It can affect virtually any nerve in the body, with a wide stove of symptoms. Nerves are necessity to how the body works. They enable people to move, send messages about how things feel, and control automatic functions, such as breathing. There are respective types. Some involve the peripheral nerves, while others damage the nerves that supply the inner organs, such as the heart, the bladder, and the catgut. In this direction, it can affect many body functions. Between one-third and a half of people with diabetes have neuropathy, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases ( NIDDK ). In this article, we explore the unlike types, effects, and risks of diabetic neuropathy .


Foot test for peripheral neuropathy parcel on PinterestPeripheral neuropathy can lead to a loss of sensation in the feet. Four chief types of neuropathy can impact on the aflutter system, including :

  • Peripheral symmetric neuropathy: This affects the feet and hands. It is the most common form of diabetic neuropathy.
  • Autonomic neuropathy: This occurs in the nerves that control involuntary functions of the body, such as digestion, urination, or heart rate.
  • Thoracic and lumbar root, or proximal, neuropathy: This damages nerves along a specific distribution in the body, such as the chest wall or legs.
  • Mononeuropathies: These can affect any individual nerve.

    The symptoms of neuropathy count on the type and the nerves involved.


    The signs and symptoms of diabetic neuropathy normally take several years to appear. Signs and symptoms will depend on which type of neuropathy and nerves it affects .

    Peripheral neuropathy

    The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include :

    • numbness, pain, tingling, and burning sensations starting in the toes and fingers then continuing up the legs or arms
    • loss of muscle tone in the hands and feet
    • not being able to feel heat, cold, or physical injury
    • loss of balance
    • Charcot’s joint, in which a joint breaks down because of nerve issues, often in the feet

    Peripheral neuropathy that affects the feet can make it difficult for a person to stand and walk. It can increase the risk of falling. When a person can not feel heat, cold or injury, this can lead to new problems. For example, a blister on the infantry can become cankerous because the person did not feel pain in the early stages. As the infection progresses, necrosis can develop. finally, amputation may be necessity. Click here to find out more about peripheral neuropathy .

    Autonomic neuropathy

    The effects of autonomic neuropathy admit :

    • heartburn and bloating
    • nausea, constipation or diarrhea
    • hypoglycemic unawareness, in which a person does not feel the effects of low sugar levels
    • difficulties speaking or swallowing
    • feeling full after eating small amounts of food
    • vomiting several hours after eating
    • orthostatic hypotension, or feeling light-headed and dizzy when standing up
    • a faster heart rate than normal
    • excessive sweating, even in cool temperatures or while at rest
    • bladder problems, for example, difficulty emptying the bladder completely when urinating, leading to incontinence
    • sexual dysfunction in men and women
    • dysesthesia, or a distorted sense of touch
    • significant drooping of the face and eyelids
    • muscle contractions and weakness

    Other types

    There are many types of neuropathy. Proximal neuropathy can lead to pain in the lower body, often on one english, and helplessness in the leg. Symptoms of focal neuropathy can vary widely, depending on the steel affected. Focal neuropathy and cranial neuropathy can both lead to ocular disturbances, such as doubly sight. People with diabetic neuropathy frequently do not realize they have it until the symptoms are more advanced .


    not all of the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are visible, but people should be mindful of any wounds on their feet.


    plowshare on PinterestA physician will carry out a foot exam and may check blood pressure. A doctor will carry out a physical examination and metrical foot examination to check for :

    • ankle reflexes
    • loss of sensation
    • changes in skin texture
    • changes in skin color

    other tests may include a check of blood press and fluctuations in heart rate. If the repair suspects diabetic neuropathy, they may run some diagnostic tests, such as :

    • an electromyogram (EMG), which records electrical activity in the muscles
    • a nerve conduction velocity test (NCV) which records the speed at which induced signals pass through the nerves


    Most types of diabetic neuropathy gets worse over time. The first step for people with any character is to bring blood sugars within a target range agreed with a doctor and oversee high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Managing glucose levels will minimize the risk of diabetic neuropathy. A key part of treatment focuses on reducing pain and managing some of the symptoms. Certain medications and types of physical therapy can help to control the pain of diabetic neuropathy, alongside early treatments. however, they can not repair the nerves. People should besides avoid or stop smoke and limit their alcohol intake to a maximal of one drink a day for women and two for men .


    Drugs that can help to manage pain include :

    • anticonvulsant drugs
    • tricyclic antidepressants
    • opioids and nonopioid pain relief medication

    Opioid habit can lead to dependency, so doctors should prescribe as low a dose as possible. A person with diabetic neuropathy might use other types of antidepressants, such as serotonin-norepinephrine inhibitors, to target early atrocious symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. topical lotions, compound creams, and some supplements, such as ALA or topical capsaicin, may besides provide respite. Capsaicin cream is available for purchase on-line .

    Physical therapy

    forcible therapy, used in combination with medications, might help relieve pain and reduce the risk of addiction on opioids. It may besides help facilitate :

    • burning and tingling sensations in the legs and feet
    • muscle cramps
    • muscle weakness
    • sexual dysfunction

    electrical steel stimulation is a painless type of physical therapy that might help to reduce feelings of stiffness and enhance the mend of infantry ulcers. Gait training involves relearning how to walk. It helps to prevent and stabilize foot complications, such as ulcers and injury. This character of forcible re-education is crucial for people using prosthesis after losing limb if diabetic neuropathy leads to an amputation. A good physical therapist will ensure that exercises for people with diabetic neuropathy do not hurt the feet, which can be sensitive. early therapies include devices that a person can use to keep painful or medium extremities from touching the bed or professorship. A chiropractor, massage therapist, or osteopath can carry out regular massages or manual therapy to stretch the muscles. massage can inhibit muscle contractions, spasms, and atrophy due to hapless blood provide. specific exercises, such as liquid or aerobics, can help an individual develop and maintain muscle military capability and reduce the loss of muscle multitude. remedy sonography is another type of physical therapy that uses very high-frequency sound waves to stimulate the weave beneath the skin. This can help some people to regain sensitivity in their feet.


    share on PinterestSome types of neuropathy can affect a person’s vision. Diabetic neuropathy can contribute to a act of bad complications, ranging from heart rate changes to ocular disturbances. possible complications include losing sensation in the feet. This can lead to an inability to feel cuts or sores, and infection might occur as a leave. Untreated infection in a limb can result in the need for amputation. severe bladder and kidney infections might besides occur, causing health problems. To prevent the complications of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, good foot care is necessity. People with the condition should inspect their feet every day for injuries or sores. Smoking besides increases the risk of foundation problems in people with certain types of diabetic neuropathy. A chiropodist can help with animal foot care, and a healthcare provider can give advice on quitting smoke.


    Diabetic neuropathy is a type of boldness damage that occurs in people who have diabetes. There are four types : autonomic, peripheral, proximal, and focal neuropathy. Each affects a different fixed of nerves and has a unlike range of effects. Autonomic neuropathy harms automatic processes in the soundbox, such as digestion. Peripheral neuropathy damages nerves in the toes, fingers, hands, and feet. Diagnosis includes a range of scans, and tests for ankle reflexes, ace, and peel texture and tone.

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    Treatment involves several types of physical therapy and medication to control trouble and steel conduction. As people with diabetic neuropathy tend not to feel injuries on the feet, regular inspection of the feet is necessity to avoid undetected contagion and the possible loss of limbs .

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