Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Anyone who has diabetes can develop neuropathy, but these factors make you more susceptible to nerve damage:
- Poor blood sugar control. This is the greatest risk factor for every complication of diabetes, including nerve damage. Keeping blood sugar consistently within your target range is the best way to protect the health of your nerves and blood vessels.
- Length of time you have diabetes. Your risk of diabetic neuropathy increases the longer you have diabetes, especially if your blood sugar isn't well controlled. Peripheral neuropathy is most common in people who have had diabetes for at least 25 years.
- Kidney disease. Diabetes can cause damage to the kidneys, which may increase the toxins in the blood and contribute to nerve damage.
- Smoking. Smoking narrows and hardens your arteries, reducing blood flow to your legs and feet. This makes it more difficult for wounds to heal and damages the integrity of the peripheral nerves.
- Diabetic neuropathies: The nerve damage of diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/neuropathies/neuropathies.pdf. Accessed Nov. 10, 2011.
- Feldman EL, et al. Treatment of diabetic neuropathy. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 10, 2011.
- Bril V, et al. Evidence-based guideline: Treatment of painful diabetic neuropathy: Report of the American Academy of Neurology, the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnosticc Medicine, and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Neurology. 2011;76:1758.
- Ultram (tramadol hydrochloride), Ultracet (tramadol hydrochloride/acetaminophen): Label change. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm213264.htm. Accessed Nov. 20. 2011.
- Neuropathy (nerve damage). The American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-withdiabetes/complications/neuropathy/. Accessed Nov. 21, 2011.
- Standards of medical care in diabetes, 2011. American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2011;34(suppl):11.
- Kidney disease (neuropathy). American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/kidney-disease-nephropathy.html. Accessed Nov. 21, 2011.
- Amato AA, et al. Peripheral neuropathy. In: Fauci AS, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Medical; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=9148461. Accessed Nov. 21, 2011.
- Diabetic neuropathy. The AGS Foundation for Health in Aging. http://www.healthinaging.org/public_education/diabetes/neuropathy.php. Accessed Nov. 21, 2011.
- Diabetic neuropathies. American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2005;28:956.