- progressive damage to the nerves seen in some people with long-standing diabetes. It most commonly affects the legs, causing pain or numbness working up from the feet. There is no cure but drugs can sometimes be used to control the discomfort experienced, and good diabetic control may prevent worsening. See also diabetic holiday foot syndrome.
* * *any of several clinical types of polyneuropathy seen with diabetes mellitus; there are sensory, motor, autonomic, and mixed varieties. The most common kind is a chronic condition called symmetrical sensory polyneuropathy; it affects first the nerves of the lower limbs and often autonomic nerves; pathologically, there is segmental demyelination of peripheral nerves. An uncommon acute form is the ischemic variety, accompanied by severe pain, weakness, and wasting of proximal and distal muscles, peripheral sensory impairment, and loss of tendon reflexes. With autonomic involvement there may be orthostatic hypotension, nocturnal diarrhea, retention of urine, impotence, and small diameter of the pupils with sluggish reaction to light. Called also diabetic polyneuropathy.
Medical dictionary. 2011.
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