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.
  • Kidney disease. Diabetes can cause damage to the kidneys, which may increase the toxins in the blood and contribute to nerve damage.
  • Being overweight. Having a body mass index greater than 24 may increase your risk of developing diabetic neuropathy.
  • 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.
Feb. 24, 2015

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