Neuropathy means damage to the nerves. The nervous system consists of the central nervous system (CNS), which is comprised of the brain and the spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system (PNS), which consists of the nerves connecting the CNS to the organs and muscles.

Damage to the nerves in the PNS is termed peripheral neuropathy. As this normally affects the nerves that control the senses, such as touch and pain, it is often termed 'sensory neuropathy'. However, the PNS includes the autonomic nervous system which controls body functions such as blood flow to internal organs, emptying of the stomach and bladder. Damage to these nerves is called autonomic neuropathy.