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Diabetic neuropathy is a peripheral nerve disorder caused by diabetes. The symptoms of diabetic neuropathy are often slight at first. In fact, some mild cases may go unnoticed for a long time. Numbness, pain, or tingling in the feet, or legs may, after several years, lead to weakness in the muscles of the feet. Occasionally, diabetic neuropathy can flare up suddenly and affect specific nerves so that an affected individual will develop double vision or drooping eyelids, or weakness and atrophy of the thigh muscles. Nerve damage caused by diabetes generally occurs over a period of years and may lead to problems with the digestive tract and sexual organs, which can cause indigestion, diarrhea or constipation, dizziness, bladder infections, and impotence. The loss of sensation in the feet may increase the possibility for foot injuries to go unnoticed and develop into ulcers or lesions that become infected.

People with diabetes commonly develop temporary or permanent damage to nerve tissue. Nerve injuries are caused by decreased blood flow and high blood-sugar levels, and are more likely to develop if blood-glucose levels are poorly controlled. Some diabetics will not develop nerve damage, while others may develop this condition relatively early. On average, the onset of symptoms occurs 10 to 20 years after diabetes has been diagnosed. Approximately 50% of people with diabetes will eventually develop nerve damage.

Peripheral nerve injuries may affect cranial nerves or nerves from the spinal column and their branches. This type of neuropathy (nerve injury) tends to develop in stages. Early on, intermittent pain and tingling is noted in the extremities, particularly the feet. In later stages, the pain is more intense and constant. Finally, a painless neuropathy develops when pain sensation is lost to an area. This greatly increases the risk of severe tissue injury because pain no longer alerts the person to injury.

    Symptoms of Neuropathy
- Numbness
- Vision changes
- Decreased sensation
- Loss of sensation
- Diarrhea
- Facial drooping
- Loss of bladder control
- Impotence
- Speech impairment
- Tingling
- Drooping mouth
- Drooping eyelid
- Dizziness
- Weakness
- Swallowing difficulty
- Constipation
- Muscle contractions

Note: Symptoms vary depending on the affected nerves. Other symptoms may not be listed. Symptoms usually develop gradually over years.