Home Diabetes Basics Complications Neuropathy and Diabetes

Neuropathy and Diabetes

Over time, high blood glucose can harm the nerves in your body. Nerve damage can cause you to lose the feeling in your feet or to have painful, burning feet. It can also cause pain in your legs, arms, or hands or cause problems with eating, going to the bathroom, or having sex.

neuropathyNerve damage can happen slowly. You may not even realize you have nerve problems. Your doctor should check your nerves at least once a year. Part of this exam should include tests to check your sense of feeling and the pulses in your feet.

Tell the doctor about any problems with your feet, legs, hands, or arms. Also, tell the doctor if you have trouble digesting food, going to the bathroom, or having sex, or if you feel dizzy sometimes.

Nerve damage to the feet can lead to amputations. You may not feel pain from injuries or sore spots on your feet. If you have poor circulation because of blood vessel problems in your legs, the sores on your feet can't heal and might become infected. If the infection isn't treated, it could lead to amputation.

Ask your doctor whether you already have nerve damage in your feet. If you do, it is especially important to take good care of your feet. To help prevent complications from nerve damage, check your feet every day (see Foot Care).

Here are some ways to take care of your nerves:

  • Keep your blood glucose and blood pressure as close to normal as possible.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
  • Check your feet every day.
  • If you smoke, quit.