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Diabetic Neuropathies

Updated: November 15, 2018

What Is It?

Diabetic neuropathies are nerve disorders that may affect people with diabetes. They occur more often in people with persistently high blood sugar levels.  

There are several different diabetic neuropathies. They include: 

  • Peripheral neuropathy. This is the most common type. It affects the longest nerves in the body. These nerves are part of the peripheral nervous system. This is the network of nerves that carry signals from your brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body and back.  

    The most common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are numbness or pain in the feet and lower legs.  

  • Autonomic neuropathy. This neuropathy damages collections of nerves that control your unconscious body functions. It may affect your digestion, circulation and sexual function.  

  • Localized nerve failures (focal neuropathy). A nerve that controls a single muscle can lose its function. For example, focal neuropathy may cause problems with eye movement that result in double vision. Or it may cause drooping of one cheek.  

Diabetic neuropathies occur in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. They are most common in people whose blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are not well controlled.  

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