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Life Expectancy Of Someone With Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy describes a condition in which nerves all over the body get extensively damaged as a result of uncontrolled blood sugar levels. This may occur anywhere in the body and most often starts in the legs and feet and then progresses to the rest of the body.(1)

Life Expectancy Of Someone With Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic autonomic neuropathy may lead to a silent myocardial infarction, which is a condition of the heart. This can lead to the death of almost 25 percent to 50 percent of people suffering from diabetic neuropathy, within a period as short as 5 to 10 years.

According to some studies, almost 2/3rd of the diabetic patients all over, suffer from diabetic neuropathy. of all the people suffering from diabetes of different types- insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, secondary diabetes; anyone can develop diabetic neuropathy. the longer the person is suffering from diabetes mellitus, the higher are the chances of developing diabetic neuropathy.(2)

Prognosis For Diabetic Neuropathy

The prognosis for diabetic neuropathy usually depends upon how properly diabetes is managed. If there is an improved control on blood glucose levels, the progression of diabetic neuropathy may be slowed down. However, the recovery may be quite slow. Charcot joints and foot ulcerations are one of the most serious complications of diabetic neuropathy. Those suffering from autonomic neuropathy may be at an increased risk of sudden death, due to silent myocardial infarction, a condition of the heart. Keeping blood glucose, blood pressure and lipids levels under control is the key to delaying the onset or slowing down the progression of diabetic neuropathy.(3)

Signs And Symptoms In Diabetic Neuropathy

There are four primary types of diabetic neuropathy. You may be suffering from any one or more types of diabetic neuropathy. the symptoms will depend upon which type of neuropathy you suffer. Generally, no signs and symptoms are seen in the beginning. Symptoms are generally visible or experienced when the diabetic neuropathy has progressed too far and caused significant nerve damage.

The four types of diabetic neuropathy are-

Causes Of Diabetic Neuropathy

Different types of diabetic neuropathy have different causative factors. However, in general, researchers believe that if diabetes goes uncontrolled over the period of time, the blood sugar starts damaging the nerves leading to diabetic neuropathy. The increased blood sugar also damages the capillaries, which are tiny blood vessels that supply the nerves with nutrients and oxygen. Also, there are some other factors that may cause nerve damage. These factors comprise of-

  • inflammation of the nerves
  • genetic reasons
  • abuse of alcohol and smoking

Risk Factors For Diabetic Neuropathy

Those suffering from diabetes can develop diabetic neuropathy. However, there are some risk factors which increase your risk of developing this condition. These factors comprise of-

  • uncontrolled blood sugar levels
  • duration of diabetes
  • kidney problems due to diabetes
  • being obese or overweight
  • smoking

Complications Of Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy can lead to a host of serious complications, which may include-

  • losing a toe, foot or leg
  • damaging the joints or developing charcot joints
  • bladder dysfunction or bladder related problems
  • inability to know hypoglycemia
  • blood pressure disturbances
  • digestive system problems
  • sexual dysfunction in both men and women
  • temperature regulation problems (too much/ too little sweating)


Almost 25 to 50 percent of people with diabetic neuropathy may die a sudden death as a result of silent myocardial infarction- a fatal condition of the heart. This may happen in as short a span of time as 5 to 10 years. Almost 2/3rd of the people suffering from diabetes develop diabetic neuropathy. The progress of this condition may be slowed down with proper management. The prognosis of diabetic neuropathy usually depends on how fine the blood glucose levels are controlled.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 17, 2019

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