There is a strong relationship between diabetes and neuropathy. Diabetes is a disease characterized by high levels of sugar in the blood and can result in peripheral neuropathy. It is usually classified into two main types.

The first is Type I diabetes, otherwise known as juvenile or insulin dependent diabetes. This occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin, a hormone necessary to regulate blood sugar. Without insulin, blood sugar levels can become dangerously high. People with Type I diabetes require daily insulin treatments for survival.

The second type is Type II diabetes. Risk factors for developing Type II diabetes include things such as a person’s weight and family history. Unlike in Type I, an individual with Type II diabetes is actually able to produce insulin. The problem in Type II however, it that the body is unable to use it properly and the person is considered to be insulin resistant. This also results in high blood sugar levels.

It is estimated that about 24 million people– roughly 8% of the U.S. population are affected by diabetes. It remains the single most common cause of peripheral neuropathy in the Unites States. High blood sugar leads to nerve damage by causing chemical changes in the nerve. There are also changes that cause the tiny blood vessels surrounding the nerves to become blocked, resulting in nerve damage because the nerves are unable to get enough oxygen. When the nerves become damaged, neuropathy is the result.

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