Diabetic neuropathy

Overview

It is a peripheral nerve disorder caused by diabetes or poor blood sugar control. High blood sugar can injure nerve fibers throughout your body; but diabetic neuropathy most often damages nerves in your legs and feet. Depending on the affected nerves, symptoms of diabetic neuropathy can range from pain and numbness in in the feet or lower legs to problems with your digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels and heart. In some people, these symptoms are mild while in others they can be painful and disabling.Left untreated the condition could even be fatal. The pain can be intense and require treatment. The loss of sensation in the feet may also increase the possibility of foot injuries going unnoticed and developing into ulcers or lesions that become infected. In some cases, diabetic neuropathy can be associated with difficulty walking and some weakness in the foot muscles. There are other types of diabetic-related neuropathies that affect specific parts of the body. For example, diabetic amyotrophy causes pain, weakness and wasting of the thigh muscles, or cranial nerve infarcts that may result in double vision, a drooping eyelid, or dizziness. Diabetes can also affect the autonomic nerves that control blood pressure, the digestive tract, bladder function, and sexual organs. Problems with the autonomic nerves may cause lightheadedness, indigestion, diarrhea or constipation, difficulty with bladder control, and impotence.

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