Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Heart Hazards Hurt Nerves in Diabetes Patients

New Risk Factors Found That Raise Risk of Nerve Damage
WebMD Health News

Jan. 26, 2005 -- People with diabetes may want to pay special attention to their hearts. Certain heart disease risk factors may also raise the risk of nerve damage from diabetes.

The damage -- called diabetic neuropathy -- affects the nerves of the body. It can lead to numbness, pain, and weakness in the hands, arms, feet, and legs. The condition is especially common among people who have had diabetes for a long time.

Neuropathy can make it harder to feel pain. That's dangerous, since pain is the body's injury alarm.

Some types of neuropathy can also harm the body's internal organs and systems. In those cases, problems can arise with the regulation of body temperature, digestion, urinary and sexual function, and the heart and blood vessels.

People who have had diabetes for long periods of time are at risk for nerve damage. However until now, poor blood sugar control was the only proven risk factor. But the suspect list just got longer, and the additions also endanger the heart.Diabetic and On Insulin? Take a Quality of Life Quiz.

New Risk Factors Found

Smoking, high levels of blood fats (such as cholesterol and triglycerides), high blood pressure, and greater BMI are among the newly identified and potentially modifiable risk factors for diabetic neuropathy.

The findings appear in the Jan. 27 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. They're based on more than 1,100 people with type 1 diabetes in Europe.

Participants were studied twice during a seven-year period. They provided blood samples to determine glucose and cholesterol control, and urine samples to check for kidney damage. Researchers also tested the participants for nerve damage.

None had neuropathy at the beginning of the study. But within seven years, about 23% had developed the condition. That's fairly typical, say the researchers, who included Solomon Tesfaye, MD, of the Diabetes Research Unit at England's Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

People who developed neuropathy tended to have several things in common, including:

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
jennie brand miller

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner