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Diabetic neuropathy

  • Alternative Names

    Nerve damage - diabetic


    It is very important to keep your blood sugar in a healthy range. You should learn the basic steps for managing your diabetes, avoiding its complications, and staying as healthy as possible. These steps will include diet, exercise, and sometimes medicines.

    You may need to check your blood sugar daily, or more often. Your doctor will help you by taking blood tests and other tests.

    See also:

    • Type 1 diabetes
    • Type 2 diabetes

    The following medications may be used to reduce symptoms in the feet, legs, and arms:

    • Certain drugs that are also used to treat depression, such as amitriptyline (Elavil), doxepin (Sinequan), or duloxetine (Cymbalta)
    • Certain drugs that are also used to treat seizures, such as gabapentin (Neurontin), pregabalin (Lyrica), carbamazepine (Tegretol), and valproate (Depakote)
    • Pain medicines

    Treatments for nausea and vomiting may include:

    • Taking medicines that help food move more quickly through your stomach and intestines
    • Sleeping with your head raised
    • Eating smaller, more frequent meals

    Diarrhea, constipation, bladder problems, and other symptoms are treated as needed.

    See also:

    • Bowel retraining
    • Neurogenic bladder

    Drugs such as sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), and tadalafil (Cialis) may be used for treating impotence. Discuss these medicines with your doctor before taking them.

    To keep your feet healthy, you should:

    • Check and care for your feet EVERY DAY
    • Get a foot exam by your doctor at least once every 6 to 12 months, and learn whether you have nerve damage.
    • Make sure you wear the right kind of shoes.

    See also: Diabetes foot care

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Treatment relieves pain and can control some symptoms, but the disease generally continues to get worse.

    • Bladder and kidney infections
    • Injury to the feet due to loss of feeling
    • Muscle damage
    • Poor blood sugar control due to nausea and vomiting
    • Skin and soft tissue damage and risk of amputation

    Neuropathy may also hide angina, the warning chest pain for heart disease and heart attack.

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.