The quality of life (QOL) of 79 people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes and 37 non-diabetic controls was assessed using the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP). The NHP consists of six domains assessing energy, sleep, pain, physical mobility, emotional reactions and social isolation. Symptomatic diabetic neuropathy was present in 41 of the patients. The neuropathy patients had significantly higher scores (impaired QOL) in 5/6 NHP domains than either the other diabetic patients (p<0.01) or the non-diabetic (p<0.001) controls. These were: emotional reaction, energy, pain, physical mobility and sleep. The diabetic patients without neuropathy also had significantly impaired QOL for 4/6 NHP domains compared with the non-diabetic control group (p<0.05) (energy, pain, physical mobility and sleep). This quantification of the detrimental effect on QOL of diabetes, and in particular of chronic symptomatic peripheral diabetic neuropathy, emphasizes the need for further research into effective management of these patients.