diabetic neuropathy

The diabetic neuropathy - Any of various types of neuropathy (disease of or damage to the nerves) that result from longstanding or poorly controlled diabetes mellitus.

The most common type of diabetic neuropathy is called peripheral sensory neuropathy. In the early stages of this disorder, intermittent pain and tingling are felt in the extremities, particularly in the feet. The pain gradually worsens until, finally, pain sensation is lost to an area. People with sensory neuropathy in the feet can develop cuts, scrapes, or blisters that they may not notice. If left untreated, serious complications may result from such injuries. Daily observation of the feet is critical.

Another form of diabetic neuropathy is damage to motor nerves (which initiate movements). This problem causes weakened muscles. The foot is particularly susceptible, and may undergo a change of appearance as a result. A further form, diabetic amyotrophy, causes painful wasting of the thigh muscles. Autonomic neuropathies affect the nerves that regulate involuntary vital functions.

Symptoms and signs include postural hypotension (low blood pressure on standing); diarrhoea at night; inability to empty the bladder completely, which may lead to urinary tract infection; and impotence. Cranial neuropathies affect nerves that supply the head and face; damage to nerves supplying the eye muscles causes impaired vision and eye pain.


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