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Nerve damage from diabetes - self-care

Diabetic neuropathy - self-care


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People with diabetes can have nerve problems. This condition is called diabetic neuropathy.

Diabetic neuropathy can happen when you have even mildly high blood sugar levels over a long time. This causes damage to the nerves that go to your:

The nerve damage can cause many different problems in your body.


Tingling or burning in the feet and legs may be an early sign of nerve damage in them. These feelings often start in your toes and feet, but can also start in the fingers and hands. You may also have deep pain or aching or just a heavy feeling. Some people may have very sweaty or very dry feet from nerve damage.

Nerve damage may cause you to lose feeling in your feet and legs. Because of this, you may:

People with diabetes may have problems digesting food. These problems can make your diabetes harder to control. Symptoms of this problem are:

Heart-related problems may include:

Neuropathy may "hide" angina. This is the warning chest pain for heart disease and heart attack. People with diabetes should learn other warning signs of a heart attack. They are:

Other symptoms of nerve damage are:

Treating and Preventing Nerve Damage from Diabetes

Treating diabetic neuropathy can make some symptoms of nerve problems better. The best way to keep the problem from getting worse is to have good control of your blood sugar.

Your doctor can give you medicines to help with some of these symptoms.

Learn how to take care of your feet. Ask your provider:


American Diabetes Association website. 10. Microvascular complications and foot care: standards of medical care in diabetes-2020. Accessed July 11, 2020.

Brownlee M, Aiello LP, Sun JK, et al. Complications of diabetes mellitus. In: Melmed S, Auchus, RJ, Goldfine AB, Koenig RJ, Rosen CJ , eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 37.


Review Date: 7/13/2020  

Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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