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What is diabetic neuropathy?

Diabetic neuropathy is a form of nerve damage that can develop in individuals with diabetes.

Over time, elevated levels of blood glucose, commonly referred to as blood sugar, and increased levels of fats like triglycerides in the bloodstream due to diabetes can lead to nerve damage. The symptoms experienced can vary depending on the specific type of diabetic neuropathy present.

Peripheral neuropathy refers to nerve damage that often impacts the feet and legs, and occasionally the hands and arms. It’s a prevalent form of neuropathy, with approximately one-third to one-half of individuals with diabetes experiencing peripheral neuropathy.

Autonomic neuropathy refers to nerve damage affecting the nerves that regulate internal organs. This can result in issues with heart rate and blood pressure, digestion, bladder function, sexual organs, sweat glands, and vision. Additionally, such damage can contribute to hypoglycemia unawareness.

Focal neuropathies involve damage to single nerves, commonly occurring in areas like the hands, head, torso, or legs. The most frequent form is entrapment syndromes, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Other types of focal neuropathy are less common.

Proximal neuropathy is a highly uncommon and debilitating form of nerve damage that occurs in the hip, buttock, or thigh. Typically, it affects only one side of the body and may occasionally spread to the other side. Symptoms have been known to improve gradually over several months to years.

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