Heart and Blood Vessels
Neuropathy affects the cardiovascular system by interfering with nerve impulses that regulate blood pressure and heart rate. As a result, blood pressure may drop sharply after sitting or standing causing dizziness or fainting. Diabetics with autonomic neuropathy may also not be able to feel angina (chest pain) as a warning sign of heart disease.
Nerve damage can affect digestion and cause the stomach to empty too slowly which may cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate. Persistent nausea, bloating and vomiting may occur in some cases. When nerve damage affects the bowels, it can cause constipation or diarrhea.
Pain and Numbness of Extremities
Peripheral Neuropathy damages the nerves of the limbs, especially the feet. Symptoms of this type of neuropathy are numbness, tingling, burning, cramps, extreme sensitivity to touch or loss of feeling for pain, pressure or temperature. Due to loss of sensation, foot injuries or ulcers can go unnoticed, resulting in serious infections that may spread to the bone. Damage to the nerves often results in loss of reflexes and muscle weakness.
Nerve damage can prevent the bladder from emptying completely, so bacteria can grow more easily in the urinary tract. When autonomic neuropathy damages the nerves of the bladder, a person may not know when the bladder is full or controlling it, resulting in urinary incontinence.
The nerve damage and circulatory problems of diabetes can also lead to a gradual loss of sexual response in both men and women.
Skin Dryness and Sweating
Nerves to the skin may cause to much or too little sweating. When nerve damage affects the activity of the sweat glands, it makes it difficult for the body to regulate temperature by producing adequate perspiration. Other times, the result can be profuse sweating at night or while eating. Autonomic neuropathy is also associated with changes in skin texture and the moisture and oiliness of the skin that may result in dryness, thickening, and cracking of the skin.