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
- Peripheral Neuropathy: Symptoms and Signs (Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy)
Diagnosis and Tests
- Neuropathy Tests (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
Treatments and Therapies
- Therapies for Treating Diabetic Nerve Pain (American Academy of Neurology)
- Additional Types of Neuropathy (American Diabetes Association) Also in Spanish
- Autonomic Neuropathy (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Diabetes and Sexual and Urologic 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
Statistics and Research
- Patient Access to Research (American Diabetes Association)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Diabetic Neuropathies (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Anemia, bilirubin, and cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy in patients with type...
- Article: Pharmacotherapy for diabetic peripheral neuropathy pain and quality of life:...
- Article: Assessment of diabetic neuropathy with emission tomography and magnetic resonance...
- Diabetic Nerve Problems -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- American Diabetes Association
- Directory of Diabetes Organizations (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) - PDF
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Also in Spanish
- Erectile Dysfunction (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)