Peripheral neuropathy is the most common type of
diabetic neuropathy. It occurs when diabetes damages
sensory nerves, which allow the brain to respond to sensations like pain,
touch, temperature, and vibration. Peripheral neuropathy may also damage the
motor nerves, which work with the muscles to control movement.
The effects and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy develop slowly over
months or years. The first symptom is usually a slight burning sensation in the
affected area. If blood sugar levels remain high over several years, the
burning sensation greatly increases and then slowly goes away. It is replaced
by a complete lack of feeling and sensation, or numbness, making the person
more likely to injure the affected area.
Don White, 68, a retired science teacher from upstate New York, first suspected he had type 2 diabetes when he was 45 years old and his school held a health fair for students and teachers. A simple prick of his finger to test for high blood sugar -- a sign of diabetes -- revealed some unexpected news.
"My numbers were way above normal," says White. "In a matter of days, and a couple of doctor's appointments later, I found out I had type 2 diabetes."
White and his family were surprised by the diagnosis...
Although peripheral neuropathy can develop almost anywhere in the
body, it most often affects the feet and legs. Loss of the protective
sensation—the reduced ability to feel pain—in the feet may lead to the
formation of calluses and blisters, bone and joint problems, infection, and
foot ulcers. For instance, small, repetitive injuries to the foot, such as
those caused by a poorly fitting shoe, may lead to bigger problems simply
because the person is unaware of them. Reduced feeling in the feet can also
alter a person's step, leading to bone or joint problems.
If untreated, foot problems can become so severe that the foot or
lower leg may have to be amputated.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
April 12, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this
Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!
Your level is currently
If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Thank you for signing up for the WebMD Diabetes Newsletter!
You'll find tips and tricks as well as the latest news and research on Diabetes.
Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?
Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.