Home > Health Library > How Diabetes Causes Nerve Disease
blood sugar from
diabetes affects the nerves and over time increases a
person's risk for nerve damage. Keeping blood sugar levels within the target range recommended by your doctor helps prevent diabetic neuropathy.
neuropathy, people experience a decrease in sensation or even numbness as well
as trouble moving the feet and, later on, the fingers and hands. As a result
of this neuropathy, many people with diabetes can't feel when they have
injured their feet, and they may not know if calluses or ulcers form. Because
of the risk of serious foot injury and infection, it is very important that
people with diabetes learn how to examine their feet daily, wear shoes that fit
well, and protect their feet from injury.
Diabetes can affect
the autonomic nervous system, which are nerves that we can't consciously
control. The autonomic nervous system controls many aspects of the body's
functioning, such as heart rate and blood pressure, the workings of the
gastrointestinal system, and sexual function.
Sometimes, single nerves
can be affected by diabetes (focal neuropathy). These nerves may be peripheral, such
as the nerves in the legs and arms, or cranial, such as the nerves that control
When single nerves become affected, the result is
weakness or paralysis of the muscles controlled by the nerves. Usually these
motor nerve neuropathies resolve by themselves over a period of several
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Karin M. Lindholm, DO - Neurology
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