Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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Type 2 diabetes, like high blood pressure, can go undetected for many years because the condition does not usually present symptoms initially or the symptoms are too subtle to notice. However, consistently high blood sugar levels – the main complication of type 2 diabetes – can lead to an array of problems. These problems often constitute the first signs of type 2 diabetes.
Many symptoms are concentrated in the feet and noticeable changes in foot temperature can be a telltale sign.
According to Diabetes UK, people with type 2 diabetes are more prone to cold or hot feet.
What causes temperature changes in people with type 2 diabetes?
Research published in the journal Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology found foot temperature to be significantly higher in type 2 diabetic patients with neuropathy as compared to those without neuropathy.
Neuropathy is the medical term for nerve damage, which, in the case of type 2 diabetes, is linked to high blood sugar levels.
Diabetic neuropathy most often damages nerves in your legs and feet.
“In patients with neuropathy, a significant positive correlation is observed between foot temperature and clinical severity of neuropathy,” researchers in the study concluded.
Other foot problems include:
- Bone and joint pain.
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How to respond
According to the NHS, 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.
“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,” explains the health body.
The earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treatment started, the better.
As the NHS points out, early treatment reduces your risk of other health problems.
According to Diabetes.co.uk, doctors should also screen for neuropathy amongst diabetic patients at least once per annum.
“At an annual check the test for neuropathy will involve the doctor stimulating the foot with a small plastic implement or tuning fork to see if you correctly detect the sensation,” the health body explains.
It adds: “Tests to confirm or monitor existing neuropathy may include ultrasound, nerve studies and biopsies, or referral to a specialist neuropathy consultant who may conduct further tests.”
How to treat neuropathy
Bringing blood sugar levels under control is the primary treatment for diabetic neuropathy.
This can help to prevent further problems from this diabetic complication.
There are two key components to blood sugar control – diabetes and exercise.
There is technically nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you have to limit your intake of certain foods.
Carbohydrate intake can cause blood sugar levels to spike because the food group is broken down into glucose faster than protein.
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