Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes. It occurs when nerves are damaged as a result of hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar levels.
Individuals with diabetes commonly develop temporary or permanent damage to nerve tissue. Decreased, or lower, blood flow and high blood sugar levels cause such nerve injuries. Nerve damage is more likely to develop if blood sugar levels are not well controlled.
Some individuals with diabetes will never develop nerve damage. Others may develop this condition early. On average, symptoms begin 10 to 20 years after a diagnosis of diabetes. Approximately 50% of individuals with diabetes will eventually develop nerve damage.
Nerve injuries may extend to nerves in the skull (cranial nerves) or nerves from the spinal cord, roots and branches. This type of neuropathy, or nerve injury, tends to develop in stages.
Autonomic neuropathies affect the nerves that regulate vital functions, including the heart muscle and smooth muscles.
I am an attorney in Pensacola, Florida, and I handle Social Security disability claims and Long Term Disability claims involving diabetic neuropathy.