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Diabetic neuropathy

  • Definition

    Diabetic neuropathy is damage to nerves in the body that occurs due to high blood sugar levels from diabetes.

    Alternative Names

    Nerve damage - diabetic

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Nerve injuries are caused by decreased blood flow and high blood sugar levels. They are more likely to develop if blood sugar levels are not well controlled.

    About half of people with diabetes will develop nerve damage. Most of the time symptoms do not begin until 10 to 20 years after diabetes has been diagnosed.

    Nerve injuries may affect:

    • Nerves in the skull (cranial nerves)
    • Nerves from the spinal column and their branches
    • Nerves that help your body manage vital organs, such as the heart, bladder, stomach, and intestines (called autonomic neuropathy)