Diabetic neuropathy

Alternative Names

Nerve damage – diabetic

Definition of Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of , in which nerves are damaged as a result of high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia).

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

People with diabetes commonly develop temporary or permanent damage to nerve tissue. Nerve injuries are caused by decreased blood flow and high blood sugar levels, and are more likely to develop if blood sugar levels are not well controlled.


Digestive tract:

Signs and tests

Physical examination, including nervous system (neurological) and sensory tests, may diagnose neuropathies. A common early finding is the absence of ankle reflexes.


The goals of treating diabetic neuropathy are to prevent the disease from getting worse and to reduce the symptoms of the disease.

Expectations (prognosis)

Treatment relieves pain and can control some symptoms, but the disease generally continues to get worse.


Ari S. Eckman, MD, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 4/19/2010

Diabetes and nerve damage
Central nervous system

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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