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what is diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathies are nerve damaging disorders associated with diabetes mellitus. These conditions are thought to result from diabetic microvascular injury involving small blood vessels that supply nerves (vasa nervorum) in addition to macrovascular conditions that can culminate in diabetic neuropathy.

Relatively common conditions which may be associated with diabetic neuropathy include third nerve palsy; mononeuropathy; mononeuropathy multiplex; diabetic amyotrophy; a painful polyneuropathy; autonomic neuropathy; and thoracoabdominal neuropathy.

Diabetic neuropathy affects all peripheral nerves including sensory neurons, motor neurons, and more rarely the autonomic nervous system. It, therefore, can affect all organs and systems, as all are innervated. There are several distinct syndromes based on the organ systems and members affected, but these are by no means exclusive. A patient can have sensorimotor and autonomic neuropathy or any other combination. Signs and symptoms vary depending on the nerve(s) affected and may include symptoms other than those listed. Symptoms usually develop gradually over years.