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EBM News

Causes, Types, Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetes has become one of the largest global health care problems affecting 415 million people worldwide and it is predicted that the number would double by 2030. One of the most common complications of diabetes is diabetic neuropathy. It occurs when there is a rise in blood sugar levels and it most often damages the nerves in the legs and feet.

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that occurs when your body has high blood sugar levels. A rise in blood sugar levels can damage the nerves and interfere with their function; it can also damage the small blood vessels that supply the nerves with oxygen and nutrients. However, a combination of other factors can also cause nerve damage which includes genetic factors, inflammation in the nerves, smoking and alcohol abuse.

Types Of Diabetic Neuropathy

Peripheral symmetric neuropathy – It is the most common form of diabetic neuropathy, which affects the hands and feet [2]

Autonomic neuropathy – It damages the nerves that control the internal organs of the body. This can lead to problems in the digestive system, sweat glands, eyes, heart rate and blood pressure [3] .

Proximal neuropathy – It damages the nerves in specific parts of the body such as the thighs, hips, buttock and legs [4] .

Mononeuropathy – It damages a single nerve in the face or torso, or leg. This leads to loss of movement, sensation and other functions in the nerve and this occurs as a result of injury [5].

Symptoms Of Diabetic Neuropathy [1]

Numbness or pain or tingling sensation in the arms and feet

Loss of muscle tone in the hands and feet

Loss of balance



Difficulty in speaking and swallowing




Sexual dysfunction

Excessive sweating

Muscle contraction

Aching behind the eyes

Weight loss

Vaginal dryness

Increased heart rate

Sensitivity to touch

Loss of sense of touch