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Diabetic Neuropathy - Topic Overview

Your doctor will check how well you feel light touch and temperature and will test your strength and your reflexes. Tests such as electromyogram and nerve conduction studies may be done to confirm the diagnosis. You may need other tests to see which type of neuropathy you have and to help guide your treatment.

Doctors can't test for all types of nerve damage. So it's important to tell your doctor about any pain or weakness you feel. Also mention heavy sweating or dizziness and any changes in digestion, urination, and sexual function.

Treatment involves keeping blood sugar levels in your target range. This will not cure the nerve damage, but it can help keep the damage from getting worse, and the pain might get better.

Other treatment depends on your symptoms:

  • Pain may be treated with medicines.
  • Digestive system problems or blood vessel problems may be treated with medicines.
  • Blood pressure problems may be treated with medicines and by wearing support stockings (also called compression stockings).
  • Sexual problems may be helped with medicines or devices to improve erections or with lubricating creams that help vaginal dryness.
  • A splint or brace may be used for a pinched nerve.

When you have diabetes, you could have a sore or other foot problem without noticing it. Check your feet every day. An untreated problem on your foot can lead to a serious infection or even amputation.

Be clear with your doctor about what is helping you feel better and what is not. You and your doctor can work together to find the treatment that helps you the most.

Keeping your blood sugar levels in your target range, set with your doctor, may help prevent neuropathy from ever developing. The best way to do this is by checking your blood sugar and adjusting your treatment. It is also important to get to and stay at a healthy weight by exercising and eating healthy foods.

Learning about diabetic neuropathy:

Being diagnosed:

Getting treatment:

Living with diabetic neuropathy:

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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