Diabetes is the most common cause of persistent (chronic) peripheral neuropathy. The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy depend on which type of peripheral nerves are damaged (sensory, motor or autonomic nerves). Neuropathy can affect any one type, or a combination of all three types, of nerves. The aims of treatment for peripheral neuropathy are to treat any underlying cause, to control your symptoms and to help you to achieve maximum independence.
About 2 in 100 people in the general population have some form of peripheral neuropathy. However, it becomes more common in people who have recognized risk factors (people who have an underlying condition or problem that is known to lead to peripheral neuropathy). 12 in 100 people with one risk factor develop peripheral neuropathy and 17 in 100 people with two risk factors develop the condition. Taking diabetes as a risk factor, about half of people who have had diabetes for 25 years have peripheral neuropathy.
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy depend on which type of peripheral nerves are damaged. Neuropathy can affect any one, or a combination of all three, types of nerves. Symptoms will also depend on whether just one nerve is affected (for example, an injury compressing just one nerve) or if there is a condition that can affect the whole body (for example, as with diabetes).