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Diabetic neuropathy involves the minor and major nerves of the body. Both the peripheral and autonomic nervous systems may be affected. The symptoms of diabetic neuropathy depend on the type of nerves that are affected. In some people, there may be no symptoms of neuropathy at all until it is well advanced.

Types of neuropathy

  • Peripheral diabetic neuropathy primarily affects the nerve endings in the hands and feet.
  • Autonomic neuropathy affects the autonomic nervous system, causing disorder of the digestive or genitourinary systems, for example.
  • Proximal neuropathy involves major nerves.
  • Focal neuropathy involves a specific group of nerves.


Some examples of common symptoms are given below:

  • Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include pain, numbness and a tingling or itching sensation across affected areas. These symptoms may be mild and therefore go unnoticed in the initial stages. As the condition develops, however, pain in the affected areas may become more severe.
  • In both focal and proximal neuropathy, there may be wasting of the muscles supplied by the affected nerves.
  • Focal neuropathy may affect muscles of the face, eyes, ears, lower back, chest, pelvis, abdomen, legs, thighs, feet, arms, hands and fingers.
  • There may be drooping of the eyelids, facial muscle changes and vision problems. Some people may have difficulty speaking or swallowing.
  • Chronic pain in the major nerve groups may lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Autonomic neuropathy

Autonomic neuropathy may gives rise to the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Indigestion or abdominal bloating
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Bladder problems
  • Weakness
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Impotence
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Sweat gland changes



Further Reading

  • All Diabetic Neuropathy Content
  • What is Diabetic Neuropathy?
  • Diabetic Neuropathy Pathogenesis
  • Diabetic Neuropathy Diagnosis
  • Diabetic Neuropathy Treatments

Last Updated: Feb 26, 2019

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

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