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In response to the significant number of questions and concerns we have received from our readers about neuropathy, this article attempts to offer the most up-to-date information available about what neuropathy is, what causes it, and what kinds of treatment are available. Information was gathered from a number of sources, including medical literature, interviews with physicians, and reports from you, our readers, describing your experiences.
What is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is one of the three most common complications suffered by people with diabetes (along with retinopathy and nephropathy). As its name implies, neuropathy effects the nervous system. The nervous system of the body is roughly analogous to the electrical system of a house. The two major types of neuropathy correspond to the two major components of the nervous system: the autonomic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system.
The autonomic nervous system is analogous to an electric generator. It controls all of the automatic functions in the body (i.e., things the body does without conscious effort, like breathing and blood circulation). Autonomic neuropathy, or damage to the autonomic nervous system, therefore becomes evident through symptoms of damage to major bodily functions controlled by the autonomic nervous system.
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