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Types of Diabetic Neuropathy

There are four types of diabetic neuropathy: peripheral, autonomic, proximal, and focal. Each of these types of diabetic neuropathy affects different parts of the body in different ways. Of the four types of diabetic neuropathy, focal neuropathy appears the most suddenly and can be the most acutely painful.

Types of Diabetic Neuropathy: An Overview

There are four types of diabetic neuropathy:
  • Peripheral
  • Autonomic
  • Proximal
  • Focal.
Each type of diabetic neuropathy affects different parts of the body in different ways.

Types of Diabetic Neuropathy: Peripheral Neuropathy

This type of diabetic neuropathy damages nerves in the legs and arms. The feet and legs are likely to be affected before the hands and arms. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include:
  • Numbness or insensitivity to pain or temperature
  • Sharp pains or cramps
  • A tingling, burning, or prickling sensation
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch -- even a light touch
  • Loss of balance and coordination.
People with peripheral neuropathy may find that symptoms are often worse at night.
Peripheral neuropathy may also cause muscle weakness and loss of reflexes, especially at the ankle, leading to changes in gait (walking). Foot deformities, such as hammertoes and the collapse of the midfoot, may occur. Blisters and sores may appear on numb areas of the foot if pressure or injury goes unnoticed. If foot injuries are not treated promptly, the infection may spread to the bone, and the foot may then have to be amputated. Some experts estimate that half of all such amputations could be prevented -- if minor problems are caught and treated in time.
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Diabetic Neuropathy Information

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