Type 2 diabetes is the result of high blood sugar levels. This can damage nerves inside the body. What are the five signs you’re suffering from it?
Nerves carry messages between the brain and every part of the body.
When the nerves are damaged by high blood sugar levels (typical of type 2 diabetes) it’s known as diabetic neuropathy.
This happens when small blood vessels are affected, preventing vital nutrients from reaching the nerves.
The first tell-tale sign of peripheral neuropathy is feeling numb in those areas, or a reduced ability to feel pain or temperature changes.
The second is tingling or burning sensations in the feet, legs, hands or arms.
Another sign is sharp pains or cramps in those body parts.
The fourth sign can be increased sensitivity to touch.
For some people, the weight of a bedsheet on their body can feel painful.
And the fifth telling sign you may have peripheral neuropathy is having ulcers, infections, and bone and joint pain.
This is more likely as blood vessel damage makes it harder for the body to heal itself.
The additional danger is that people with nerve damage can’t feel when something is wrong, for example, with their foot.
Over time, left unchecked, this can lead to an amputation.
The charity Diabetes UK reports that diabetes leads to more than 160 amputations a week.
And, even more worryingly, around half of all people who experience a major amputation will die within two years.
In addition, more than four in 10 people with a foot ulcer will die within five years.
Diabetes UK states: “Good control of blood glucose [sugar] levels can improve the symptoms of neuropathy.
“[It can also] reduce the progression of the nerve damage.”
People diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may be prescribed insulin and medication.
And lots will be encouraged by healthcare professionals to eat well and exercise to help manage the condition.