with autonomic neuropathy—which affects the nerves that control internal
functions—can be hard to diagnose. When new symptoms develop, more
testing may be needed to diagnose the problem, identify the cause, and guide
treatment. For example, a study that measures how fast your stomach empties may
be done if symptoms like bloating, indigestion, or vomiting suggest
gastroparesis, a condition that causes the stomach to
take too long to empty.
Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage caused by chronically high blood sugar and diabetes. It leads to numbness, loss of sensation, and sometimes pain in your feet, legs, or hands. It is the most common complication of diabetes.
About 60% to 70% of all people with diabetes will eventually develop peripheral neuropathy, although not all suffer pain. Yet this nerve damage is not inevitable. Studies have shown that people with diabetes can reduce their risk of developing nerve damage by keeping...
For some diseases, doctors can use screening
tests to look for problems before you have any symptoms. But doctors can't
test for all types of autonomic or focal neuropathy. So it is important to
report to your doctor any pain, weakness, or motor problems you have. Also
mention any changes in digestion, urination, sexual function, sweating, or
dizziness. Your doctor will also look for signs of autonomic neuropathy during
your physical exams.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA)
recommends that people who have diabetes see a doctor to examine their feet for
cracked or peeling skin, excessive or reduced sweating, blisters, calluses,
ulcers, signs of infection, bone and joint abnormalities, and walking and
balance—during each medical visit. The ADA also recommends a complete foot exam
by a doctor at least once a year.1 This examination
can detect a loss of sensation in your feet, which can lead to more serious
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
August 13, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this
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