Alternate Names : Nerve damage – diabetic
Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes, in which nerves are damaged as a result of high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia).
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
People with diabetes commonly develop temporary or permanent damage to nerve tissue. Nerve injuries are caused by decreased blood flow and high blood sugar levels, and are more likely to develop if blood sugar levels are not well controlled.
Some people with diabetes will not develop nerve damage, while others may develop this condition early. On average, symptoms begin 10 to 20 years after the diabetes diagnosis. Approximately 50% of people with diabetes will eventually develop nerve damage.
Peripheral nerve injuries may affect nerves in the skull (cranial nerves) or nerves from the spinal column and their branches. This type of nerve injury (neuropathy) tends to develop in stages.
Autonomic neuropathies affect the nerves that regulate vital functions, including the heart muscle and smooth muscles.
Pictures & Images
Diabetes and nerve damage
Diabetes can damage the nerves and cause a complication called neuropathy. This generally begins as loss of sensation in the toes, and possibly fingers. Eventually, the neuropathy can move up the person’s legs or arms.
Central nervous system and peripheral nervous system
The central nervous system is comprised of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system includes all peripheral nerves.
Review Date : 8/20/2008
Reviewed By : A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Greg Juhn, MTPW, David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Elizabeth H. Holt, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Yale University. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (3/18/2008).
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