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
- Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy (Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy)
Diagnosis and Tests
- Autonomic Testing (National Library of Medicine)
Treatments and Therapies
- Therapies for Treating Diabetic Nerve Pain (American Academy of Neurology) - PDF
- 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: Risk Factors for Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy, Peripheral Artery Disease, and Foot...
- Article: Gait Parameters and Peripheral Neuropathy in Patients With Diabetes: A Meta-Analysis.
- Article: Characteristics of Plantar Pressure Distribution in Diabetes with or without Diabetic...
- 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)