What is a neuropathy?

Neuropathy is a condition in which a person suffers from symptoms due to peripheral nerve damage, often associated with an underlying disease. It iis not a disease in itself, but a cluster of symptoms. om no Less than 3% of the general population is affected, but 60% of diabetics will develop some degree of nerve damage, including the terrible painfull neuropathy. 9 in 10 patients suffering from painful neuropathy is mistreated of does not get enough treatment.


Diabetic neuropathy is due to damage of nerve fibres in people with diabetes. How the nerves are injured is not entirely clear. There are 3 types of nerves in the body. These can all be injured by the proces of neuropathy:


1. sensory (detect sensation such as touch, heat, cold, pain)

2. motor (muscle power)

3. autonomic (regulate autonomous functions such as heart rate, voiding, sweating and digestion)


The most common type of diabetic neuropathy affects the nerves in the legs and is usually known as peripheral neuropathy. This is the type of neuropathy that causes foot problems. It affects mainly the sensory nerves although the motor and autonomic nerves can also be involved with important consequences.

Presented by Jan M Keppel Hesselink, MD, PhD [email protected]