Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage caused by diabetes, is one of the most common known causes of neuropathy. It is one of many complications associated with diabetes, with nearly 60 percent of diabetics having some form of nerve damage. It is a progressive disease that can involve loss of sensation, as well as pain and weakness, in the feet and sometimes in the hands. Peripheral neuropathy may be more prevalent in people who have difficulty managing their blood sugar levels, have high blood pressure, are overweight, and are over 40 years old. A clinical examination may identify early signs of neuropathy in diabetics without symptoms.
Today, doctors are exploring a link between pre-diabetes (also known as impaired glucose tolerance or IGT) and peripheral neuropathy. Approximately 10% of adults in America have what is being called “pre-diabetes” or “borderline diabetes”—a condition where the body has higher than normal blood sugar levels, but not high enough to be diagnosed as true diabetes. If left untreated, people with pre-diabetes are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and nerve damage (which could result in peripheral neuropathy.)
People with pre-diabetes or IGT can significantly reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes through diet, exercise and learning to control their blood sugar levels.
Pre-Diabetes Symptoms & Signs
(Not all symptoms and signs may be present.)
People with IGT often have no symptoms. People who actually have diabetes—and who therefore are at greater risk of developing peripheral neuropathy—often don’t realize it because the symptoms of diabetes come on so gradually. Pre Diabetic symptoms and its complications include:
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Constant thirst
- Frequent infections
- Cuts and bruises that heal slowly
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
Pre-Diabetic Neuropathy Symptoms
In feet or hands:
- Tingling Sensations
(Not all evaluation and tests may be necessary.)
To test for pre-diabetes:
- Blood test
- Oral glucose tolerance test
Diabetic Neuropathy Tests
(Not all treatments and therapies may be indicated.)
- Over-the-counter pain medication for mild pain
- Take safety measures to compensate for loss of sensation.
- Ask your doctor about special therapeutic shoes (which may be covered by Medicare and other insurance).
Pre-Diabetic Neuropathy Treatments
- Lose weight
- Eat a balanced diet
- Stop smoking
FPN's Resource Library
The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy is the leader in providing resources to patients, caregivers, and physicians.
FPN’s Resource Library contains educational brochures, newsletters, transcripts and videos that cover many topics from treatments to research updates to the numerous causes of peripheral neuropathy.
We hope that you find our Resource Library to be of help to you and your loved ones.