Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

People with diabetes can, over time, develop nerve damage throughout their body. Some people with nerve damage have no symptoms. However, some may feel pain, tingling, numbness, and loss of feeling. Diabetic neuropathy can be classified as peripheral, autonomic, proximal, or focal. Each affects different parts of the body in various ways

  • Peripheral neuropathy, the most common type of diabetic neuropathy, causes pain or loss of feeling in the toes, feet, legs, hands, and arms.
  • Autonomic neuropathy causes changes in digestion, bowel and bladder function, sexual response, and perspiration. It can also affect the nerves that serve the heart and control blood pressure, as well as nerves in the lungs and eyes. Autonomic neuropathy can also cause hypoglycemia unawareness, a condition in which people no longer experience the warning symptoms of low blood glucose levels.
  • Proximal neuropathy causes pain in the thighs, hips, or buttocks and leads to weakness in the legs.
  • Focal neuropathy results in the sudden weakness of one nerve or a group of nerves, causing muscle weakness or pain. Any nerve in the body can be affected.

Treatment Options

Physicians typically treat painful diabetic neuropathy with oral medications. Other types of treatments, like TENS or spinal cord stimulation, may be helpful to some patients. Talk with your healthcare provider about the different treatment options available to you to treat your neuropathy.