What are complications of diabetic neuropathy?

Updated: Jul 28, 2020
  • Author: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Answer

Autonomic dysfunction can involve any part of the sympathetic or parasympathetic chains and produce myriad manifestations. [75, 145] Patients likely to seek care in the ED are those with diabetic gastroparesis and vomiting, severe diarrhea, bladder dysfunction and urinary retention, or symptomatic orthostatic hypotension. Treatment of gastroparesis is symptomatic, and symptoms tend to wax and wane. Patients with gastroparesis may benefit from metoclopramide or erythromycin.

Before these therapies are started, the degree of dehydration and metabolic imbalance must be assessed, and other serious causes of vomiting must be excluded. In severe cases, gastric pacing has been used. Patients with disabling orthostatic hypotension may be treated with salt tablets, support stockings, or fludrocortisone. Alleviating the functional abnormalities associated with the autonomic neuropathy is often difficult and frustrating for both doctor and patient. (See Diabetic Neuropathy and Diabetic Lumbosacral Plexopathy.)


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