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Updated January 12, 2009




Neuropathy is a general term used to describe damage to the nervous system or individual nerves. Though neuropathy is not unique to diabetes, it is a very common complication among those with poor blood glucose control.

Four types of neuropathy affect those with diabetes:

  • Peripheral neuropathy: causes pain or loss of feeling in the toes, feet, legs, hands, and arms

  • Autonomic neuropathy: causes changes in digestion, bowel and bladder function, sexual response, lungs, heart and eyes.

  • Proximal neuropathy: causes pain in the thighs, hips, or buttocks and leads to weakness in the legs.

  • Focal neuropathy: results in the sudden weakness of one nerve or a group of nerves, causing muscle weakness or pain.


Diabetic Neuropathies: The Nerve Damage of Diabetes. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. Accessed October 8, 2008. http://http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/neuropathies/

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