Diabetes type 2 symptoms: The peculiar sensation in your hands to watch out for
Diabetes type 2: Dr Zoe Williams discusses high blood sugar risks
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition characterised by unstable blood sugar levels. Blood sugar – the main type of sugar you get from eating food – supplies the body with energy but having too much blood sugar can have devastating consequences. People with type 2 diabetes are more prone to high blood sugar levels because their insulin production is impaired. The result is often a slew of peculiar bodily changes.
Some of the most acute signs of high blood sugar levels fall under the umbrella of peripheral neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage caused by consistently high blood sugar levels.
One telltale sign of peripheral neuropathy is the feeling as if you’re wearing gloves or socks when you’re not, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Other warning signs include:
- Gradual onset of numbness, prickling or tingling in your feet or hands, which can spread upward into your legs and arms
- Sharp, jabbing, throbbing or burning pain
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Pain during activities that shouldn’t cause pain, such as pain in your feet when putting weight on them or when they’re under a blanket
- Lack of coordination and falling
- Muscle weakness
- Paralysis if motor nerves are affected.
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How to respond
You should see a GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes or you’re worried you may have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes, says the NHS.
According to the NHS, you’ll need a blood test, which you may have to go to your local health centre for if it cannot be done at your GP surgery.
The earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treatment started, the better.
As the NHS points out, early treatment reduces your risk of other health problems.
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How to treat peripheral neuropathy and other complications
If high blood sugar levels are inflicting damage on your body, it is vital that you bring them down to a healthy range.
There are two key components to blood sugar control – diet and exercise.
There’s technically nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you’ll have to limit certain foods.
The worst culprits are particular types of carbohydrates because certain carbs are broken down into glucose (blood sugar) faster than other food groups.
To help you identify the most risky carbs, you should refer to glycaemic index (GI).
The glycaemic index (GI) is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates.
It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.
Carbs that are broken down quickly by your body and cause a rapid increase in blood glucose have a high GI rating.
High GI foods include:
- Sugar and sugary foods
- Sugary soft drinks
- White bread
- White rice.
Low or medium GI foods are broken down more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time.
- Some fruit and vegetables
- Wholegrain foods, such as porridge oats.
The optimal amount of exercise
According to the NHS, you should aim for 2.5 hours of activity a week to keep blood sugar levels stable.
“You can be active anywhere as long as what you’re doing gets you out of breath,” it says.
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