If you have diabetes, you may already have experienced the nerve pain called diabetic neuropathy. If so, diabetic neuropathy treatment is important.
Some symptoms are obvious: pain in your feet. But more subtle signs of neuropathy are just as critical to notice - and to treat.
"We ask whether people are having unusual tingling or numbness," says Dace L. Trence, MD, an endocrinologist and director of the Diabetes Care Center at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Those symptoms...
Frequent Urination, Extreme Thirst or Hunger, or Blurry Vision
These are three common warning signs of uncontrolled blood sugar.
What to do: You should test your blood sugar and call your doctor. Depending on how high your blood sugar is, medication may fix the problem, or you may need medical care to replace fluids and electrolytes and to get your blood sugar back under control.
If left unchecked, high blood sugar can lead to serious, life-threatening conditions. People with type 1 diabetes can develop diabetic ketoacidosis, in which the body starts breaking down fats instead of sugars, leading to a dangerous buildup of chemicals called ketones (byproducts of fat metabolism).
Uncontrolled type 2 diabetes can lead to "dehydration and altered consciousness ... which could be fatal if untreated,” says endocrinologist Adrian Vella, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Strange behavior can also signal low blood sugar. This can happen when a person’s medication works too well and overshoots the target.
What to do: Drink some juice or eat a snack. That's usually enough to raise blood sugar levels and get behavior back to normal.
Always wear something visible, such as a bracelet, necklace, or pendant, that says you have diabetes. Doing so can help if you need treatment.
Infections, Swollen or Bloody Gums, Foot Sores
In people with diabetes, infections "can get out of control and they need to be taken very seriously," says Andrew Drexler, MD, who directs UCLA's Gonda Diabetes Center.
What to do: Have your doctor check a cut that’s infected or swollen, bloody gums, or a wound that won’t heal.
Get regular foot exams by a health care professional -- and check your feet every day. A sore on your foot may be the first sign of a diabetic foot ulcer.
Bathe your feet daily in warm (but not hot) water. Follow up with a moisturizer to prevent dry skin, which may crack and lead to infection.
Check for fungal infections. A red, itchy rash -- especially in moist areas such as skin folds -- can signal a fungal infection. Those are more common in people with uncontrolled diabetes, Vella says.
Eye Problems, Including "Floaters"
Diabetes makes you more likely to get an eye condition called retinopathy, which can lead to vision loss.
What to do: If you develop sudden changes in vision, have eye pain, or see spots or lights floating in your field of vision, call your doctor. You may need to see an ophthalmologist.
Even if you don't have any symptoms, see an ophthalmologist yearly for a routine eye exam.
Heart Disease Symptoms (Not Just Chest Pain)
Diabetes makes you more likely to get heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Adrian Vella, MD, endocrinologist and associate professor of medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
Andrew Drexler, MD, professor of medicine, co-chief, division of clinical endocrinology, diabetes and hypertension; director, Gonda (Goldschmied) Diabetes Center, UCLA.
Thomas Higgins, MD, Boulder Medical Center, Boulder, Colo.
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If the level is below 70 and 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.
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