Peripheral neuropathy refers to damage of the peripheral nerves, which branch out from the brain and spine to the rest of the body. It typically begins with pain, numbness, tingling, burning or weakness in the feet, legs and/or hands, and may progress to more serious conditions such as ulcers, pain and loss of sensation.
Peripheral neuropathy may develop because of a nerve disease or as a side effect of an illness or medication. Common causes among Americans are diabetes, chemotherapy, chronic alcoholism, multiple sclerosis, and heavy metal toxicity.
DPN is a common serious complication of diabetes, yet can often be prevented or slowed with improved control of blood sugar levels. High blood sugar can injure nerve fibers throughout your body, most often in your feet, legs and hands. Depending on the affected nerves and severity, symptoms of DPN can range from pain and numbness in your extremities, to problems with your eyes, digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels and heart.