July 01, 2021

Peripheral neuropathy

Get control of this condition that's common in people with diabetes

Peripheral neuropathy is an often painful nerve condition where management of underlying cause, taking care of your health and select drugs and therapies often lead to relief.

Peripheral nerves

Tingly toes, painful feet, hands on fire. The sensations keep moving up your body, and you don't know what's causing them or what to do. A possible cause: peripheral neuropathy, a condition defined by nerve damage.

That damage may be related to any number of causes, including metabolic problems, inherited conditions, immune disorders, traumatic injuries, infections and exposure to toxins. The condition is particularly common in people with diabetes, and even in those with prediabetes.

If the underlying cause is managed, symptoms may sometimes improve. In addition, medications can reduce the pain of peripheral neuropathy.

A two-pronged nervous system

Your nervous system involves two broad categories. One is your central nervous system — your brain and spinal cord. The other, the peripheral nervous system, sends information between your brain and spinal cord and the rest of your body. The peripheral nerves that may be affected by neuropathy include:

  • Sensory nerves — These allow you to feel sensations such as heat, pain or touch and contribute to your sense of balance.
  • Motor nerves — These control your muscles' contractions and power.
  • Autonomic nerves — These control involuntary body functions, such as blood pressure and digestion.
Peripheral neuropathy in the feet

Your nervous system involves two broad categories. One is your central nervous system, which is your brain and spinal cord. The other is...