Diabetic Neuropathy is painful nerve damage associated with diabetes. The damage is related to blood sugar levels being too high for too long. Different types of diabetic neuropathy can affect your feet and legs, hips, head or digestive system.

Overview and Symptoms

Diabetic neuropathy can happen in several ways, but all relate to blood sugar levels being too high for too long. To prevent it, work with your doctor to manage your blood sugar.

You may hear your doctor mention the four types of diabetes-related neuropathy: peripheral, autonomic, proximal, and focal.

  • Peripheral neuropathy affects the feet and legs, with sensations of tingling, numbness or burning pain.
  • Autonomic neuropathy usually affects the digestive system, with symptoms of bloating, diarrhea, heartburn, nausea and vomiting.
  • Proximal neuropathy usually presents on one side of your thighs, hips or buttocks. It can lead to weakness in the legs.
  • Focal neuropathy can appear suddenly and affects nerves most often in the head. It can cause muscle weakness or pain, with symptoms including double vision, eye pain or paralysis on one side of the face.

Treatment at BIDMC

Treatment includes managing your blood sugar and using insulin or pain medications to control symptoms. In addition to optimizing medication management, BIDMC specialists offer psychological support as well as rehabilitation, and for select patients, spinal cord stimulation.

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