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Peripheral neuropathy, a nerve disease, is a possible complication of diabetes.

According to Mayo Clinic, "Peripheral neuropathy is a term used to describe disorders of your peripheral nervous system. Your peripheral nervous system includes nerves in your face, arms, legs, torso, and some nerves in your skull. In fact, all of your nerves not located in your central nervous system — which includes the brain and the spinal cord — are peripheral nerves."[1]

Signs & symptoms[]

The central nervous system consists of brain and spinal cord while the peripheral nervous system connects spinal cord and brain to all other parts of the body. Peripheral nerves are very delicate and fragile and may get easily damaged. If damaged, the communication between the part of the body served by the damaged peripheral nerve and the brain gets adversely affected. This affects the ability to move that part of the body. Feelings of normal sensation by that part of the body is also reduced partially or completely depending on the damage. The signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy depends on the particular nerve or nerves involved.


There are many contributing factors causing neuropathy. In case, only a particular nerve is involves, the most likely cause may be trauma or excessive and repetitive use of the particular nerve putting undue pressure on that particular nerve. Nerve pressure may be on account of a variety of situations like spending long hours regularly in unnatural position, for example, spending unduly long hours on typing on the computer keyboard. A tumor or any abnormal bone growth may also trigger nerve pressure. On the other hands, several sets of nerves are dmamged, the underlying cause may be diabetes - at least 50% of all people with diabetes develop some sort of neuropathy. There are some other causes of neuropathy too including the following:

  • Certain other diseases:
  • Exposure to poisons:
  • Genetic factors:
  • Infections:

Risk factors[]

Diabetes is the greatest risk factor for peripheral neuropathy, and as indicated above almost 50% of the person with diabetes develop this over a period of time - longer one has diabetes, longer is the risk. It is highest among the person with a history of diabetes for more than 25 years. The risk is also more if the age is over 40 and the person has problems in controlling blood sugar. The reason for the relationship between diabetes and peripheral neuropathy is yet to be fully understood, researchers beleive that a high level of blood sugar probably negatively impacts the ability of the nerves including peripheral nerves to transmit signals to the brain.

There are also certain other risk factors contributing to the development of peripheral neuropathy including the following:

  • Disorders of immune system
  • Certain medical conditions
  • Undertaking repetitive stress
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Deficiency of vitamins
  • Exposure to toxic substances

See also[]

External links[]

Peripheral neuropathy - a page from the site of Mayo Clinic


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