Diabetic Neuropathy: Treatment, Symptoms, Causes

What is diabetic neuropathy?

Diabetic neuropathy is a serious and common complication of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It’s a type of nerve damage caused by long-term high blood sugar levels. The condition usually develops slowly, sometimes over the course of several decades.

If you have diabetes and notice numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness in your hands or feet, you should see your doctor. These are early symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. The danger is usually when you can’t feel pain and an ulcer develops on your foot.

In cases of severe or prolonged peripheral neuropathy, you may be vulnerable to injuries or infections. In serious cases, poor wound healing or infection can lead to amputation.

There are different types of diabetic neuropathy that affect different areas of your body, causing a variety of symptoms. If you have diabetes, it’s important to regularly check your blood glucose levels and contact your doctor if have any symptoms of neuropathy.

What are the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy?

It’s common for symptoms of neuropathy to appear gradually. In many cases, the first type of nerve damage to occur involves the nerves of the feet. This can lead to the symptom of sometimes painful “pins and needles” in your feet.

Symptoms vary depending on the areas affected. Common signs and symptoms of the different types of diabetic neuropathy include:

  • sensitivity to touch
  • loss of sense of touch
  • difficulty with coordination when walking
  • numbness or pain in your hands or feet
  • burning sensation in feet, especially at night
  • muscle weakness or wasting
  • bloating or fullness
  • nausea, indigestion, or vomiting
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • dizziness when you stand up
  • excessive or decreased sweating
  • bladder problems, such as incomplete bladder emptying
  • vaginal dryness
  • erectile dysfunction
  • inability to sense low blood glucose
  • vision trouble, such as double vision
  • increased heart rate