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Is it Diabetic Nerve Damage?

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11/16/2009 - Questions and Answers

Is it Diabetic Nerve Damage?

By: Mark Castleden

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Question

I have type 2 diabetes and it is not under control. I take insulin twice daily - 52 units mornings and 36 evenings. I'm an over-eater. I'm a woman, 236 lbs and 5' 6". I feel cold in various parts, most often in my lower stomach, sometimes in my chest, back and arms. It's uncomfortable and frightening. Could this be related to my diabetes? Could nerve damage cause the coldness? I also have burning and stinging in my limbs, at times.

Answer

A few diabetic patients will experience cold clammy skin when their blood sugar falls below normal. This is caused by too much insulin or oral medication, and more exercise or activity than usual. Skipping or delaying meals or snacks, or eating less food than usual can also bring on hypoglycemia.

If you are having one of your "cold" spells, check your blood sugar with a home testing device. Record this number for your doctor to see. If it's low, then follow your doctor's directions on what to do when you have a low blood sugar. The usual thing to do is to eat something, drink orange juice, a few sugar packets dissolved in orange juice or just suck on some hard candy. Just enough to make you feel better.

Your diabetes might be out of control for several reasons:

1. Not following a diabetic diet.
2. Inactivity or no exercise at all.
3. Eating the wrong food, especially those that can aggravate diabetes.
4. Not taking the proper dose of insulin.

You didn't mention your age but if you are pre-menopausal or menopausal, the hormonal changes may be causing your symptoms. You doctor should be able to determine this and give you proper medications to alleviate your symptoms. The burning and stinging that you describe can certainly be from nerve damage or "neuropathy" from your diabetes. Again see your doctor as diabetic neuropathy can be easily checked in the office and treated by good sugar control.

NOTE: It is important you wear or carry medical identification indicating you are a diabetic. It is recommended you attend a diabetes education program to understand diabetes and all aspects of its treatment including diet, exercise, personal hygiene, medications and getting regular eye exams. Controlling high blood sugar helps prevent heart disease, strokes, kidney disease and circulation problems.

 

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Created on: 11/18/2002
Reviewed on: 11/16/2009

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