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If you have diabetes, your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Over time, this can damage the covering on your nerves or the blood vessels that bring oxygen to your nerves. Damaged nerves may stop sending messages, or may send messages slowly or at the wrong times.
This damage is called diabetic neuropathy. Over half of people with diabetes get it. Symptoms may include:
- Numbness in your hands, legs, or feet
- Shooting pains, burning, or tingling
- Nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea
- Problems with sexual function
- Urinary problems
- Dizziness when you change positions quickly
Your doctor will diagnose diabetic neuropathy with a physical exam and nerve tests. Controlling your blood sugar can help prevent nerve problems, or keep them from getting worse. Treatment may include pain relief and other medicines.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- Diabetic Neuropathy (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
- Nerve Damage (Diabetic Neuropathies) (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) Also in Spanish
- Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy (Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy)
Diagnosis and Tests
- Autonomic Testing (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
Treatments and Therapies
- Therapies for Treating Diabetic Nerve Pain (American Academy of Neurology) - PDF
- Diabetes and Your Feet (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Additional Types of Neuropathy (American Diabetes Association)
- Autonomic Neuropathy (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Diabetes, Sexual, and Bladder Problems (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) Also in Spanish
- Gastroparesis (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) Also in Spanish
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Diabetic Neuropathies (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Impact of gut-peripheral nervous system axis on the development of diabetic...
- Article: Efficacy and safety of duloxetine in painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy: a...
- Article: Metformin treatment and risk of diabetic peripheral neuropathy in patients with...
- Diabetic Nerve Problems -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- American Diabetes Association
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Also in Spanish
- NIDDK Information Clearinghouses and Health Information Center (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
- Erectile Dysfunction and Diabetes (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Cranial mononeuropathy III - diabetic type (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Diabetes and nerve damage (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Nerve damage from diabetes - self-care (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish