Over time, high blood sugar can harm the nerves in your body. Nerve damage from diabetes can cause you to lose feeling in your feet or have painful, burning feet. It can cause pain in your legs, arms, or hands. Nerve damage can also cause problems with eating, going to the bathroom, or having sex.

Damage to nerves can happen slowly. You may not even realize you have nerve problems because you can't always feel them. Your doctor should check your nerves once a year. Part of this exam should include tests to check your sense of feeling and the pulses in your feet.

Tell the doctor about any problems with your feet, legs, hands, or arms. Tell the doctor if you have trouble eating, going to the bathroom, having sex, or if you feel dizzy sometimes. Don't smoke. Smoking makes poor circulation worse. Poor circulation can make foot problems worse.

Nerve damage to the feet is a main cause of amputations in people with diabetes. You may not feel pain from injuries or sore spots on your feet. If you have poor circulation because of blood vessel problems in your legs, the sores on your feet can't heal and might become infected. If the infection is not treated, it could lead to amputation. To help prevent nerve damage, check your feet every day.

The Diabetic Newsletter courtesy of NIDDK