Diabetic Neuropathy

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The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the leading federal funder of research on diabetic neuropathy and related conditions. 

What is diabetic neuropathy?

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage caused by diabetes or poor blood sugar control. It can develop slowly after many years of diabetes or may occur early in the disease. There are different types of diabetic neuropathy, depending on the type and number of nerves damaged. It can affect how you move and process sensations such as hot or cold, and how your body regulates activities that you don't consciously control, such as breathing and blood pressure. Symptoms may include:

  • Numbness or tingling in your feet or lower legs   
  • Pain
  • Foot complications, such as infections and ulcers or lesions
  • Difficulty walking
  • Muscle weakness, often in the foot muscles
  • Problems with balance and coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Vision problems
  • Problems with how some organs work, such as digestion, bladder function, and sexual function

    Treatment options include keeping your blood sugar level under control, diet, medications, staying active, limiting alcohol consumption, and quitting smoking.

    Learn About Clinical Trials
    Clinical trials are studies that allow us to learn more about disorders and improve care. They can help connect patients with new and upcoming treatment options.

    How can I or my loved one help improve care for people with diabetic neuropathy?

    Consider participating in a clinical trial so clinicians and scientists can learn more about diabetic neuropathy and related disorders. Clinical research uses human volunteers to help researchers learn more about a disorder and perhaps find better ways to safely detect, treat, or prevent disease.

    All types of volunteers are needed—those who are healthy or may have an illness or disease—of all different ages, sexes, races, and ethnicities to ensure that study results apply to as many people as possible, and that treatments will be safe and effective for everyone who will use them.

    For information about participating in clinical research visit NIH Clinical Research Trials and You. Learn about clinical trials currently looking for people with diabetic neuropathy at Clinicaltrials.gov.

    Where can I find more information about diabetic neuropathy?

    The following organization may provide resources:

    American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA)
    Phone: 916-632-0922 or 800-553-3231

    American Diabetes Association
    Phone: 800-342-2383

    Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) 
    Phone: 800-533-2873 or 212-785-9500

     Learn about related topics

    Order publications from the NINDS Catalog
    The NINDS Publication Catalog offers printed materials on neurological disorders for patients, health professionals, and the general public. All materials are free of charge, and a downloadable PDF version is also available for most publications.