Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve disorder that can occur in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It is commonly caused by blood sugar levels being too high over a prolonged period of time, resulting in nerve damage throughout the body, most frequently in the legs and feet.
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The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says, “About 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy,” but risk is especially high for those who have had diabetes for over 25 years. Read on to learn more about the different types of diabetic neuropathy, as well as symptoms to look out for and treatment options available.
The family of diabetic neuropathies is made up of four main types: peripheral, autonomic, proximal, and focal. According to MedicalNewsToday.com, peripheral neuropathy is the most common form and affects the nerves of the hands and feet. While autonomic neuropathy affects “the nerves that control the involuntary functions of the body,” including digestion, bowel and bladder function, and perspiration.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases adds that it can also impact the nerves “that serve the heart and control blood pressure, as well as nerves in the lungs and eyes.” Proximal neuropathy, on the other hand, “causes pain in the thighs, hips, or buttocks and leads to weakness in the legs.” And, finally, focal neuropathy is when one nerve or a group of nerves anywhere in the body experience sudden weakness.