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Diabetes Health Center

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What Is Diabetic Neuropathy?

Proximal Neuropathy

This type causes pain (usually on one side) in the thighs, hips, or buttocks. It can also lead to weakness in the legs.

Most people with this condition need treatment, such as medication and physical therapy, for their weakness or pain.

Focal Neuropathy

This type can appear suddenly and affect specific nerves, most often in the head, torso, or leg. It causes muscle weakness or pain. 

Symptoms include:

  • Double vision
  • Eye pain
  • Paralysis on one side of the face (Bell's palsy)
  • Severe pain in a certain area, such as the lower back or leg(s)
  • Chest or belly pain that is sometimes mistaken for another condition, such as heart attack or appendicitis

What you should do: Tell your doctor about your symptoms. Focal neuropathy is painful and unpredictable. But it tends to improve by itself over weeks or months. It usually doesn’t cause long-term damage.

Other Diabetes Nerve Damage

People with diabetes can also get other nerve-related conditions, such as nerve compressions (entrapment syndromes). 

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common type of entrapment syndrome. It causes numbness and tingling of in the hand and sometimes muscle weakness or pain.

If you think you may have any type of nerve problem, talk with your doctor, so she can check for the cause.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on March 10, 2015
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