Diabetes: The ‘tingling’ sensation that can be caused by long-term high blood sugar

Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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Diabetes impacts more than 4.9 million people in the UK, with 90 percent of those cases type two, according to diabetes.org. Though diabetes can be managed, if blood sugar levels are left to spike over long periods of time, it can lead to further conditions.

Long-term blood sugar levels can end up causing severe damage to the nerves.

In particular, nerves that receive signals from your hands and feet can be the most affected.

This is known as diabetic neuropathy, an additional condition that currently has no known cure.

Though around 50 percent of people with diabetes may experience nerve pain at some point in their life, it is not always as severe as diabetic neuropathy.

Most often, it is felt as a “tingling sensation” in the hands and feet, according to Healthline.

What is diabetic neuropathy?

Diabetic neuropathy can be caused by heightened blood sugar over many years.

Peripheral neuropathy is the most common form of diabetic neuropathy.

This typically occurs in people who have not been able to control their blood sugar levels.

The NHS states: “It’s probably caused by high levels of sugar in your blood damaging the tiny blood vessels that supply your nerves.

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“Peripheral neuropathy becomes more likely the longer you have had diabetes.

“Up to one in four people with the condition experience some pain caused by nerve damage.”

However, the NHS notes that it can occur for reasons other than diabetes.

The NHS explains: “In some cases, no cause can be identified and this is termed idiopathic neuropathy.”

If you have diabetes, your risk for additional side effects are higher if you smoke, drink large amounts of alcohol regularly, or are over the age of 40.

What does diabetic neuropathy feel like?

Diabetic neuropathy, though often felt as a tingling feeling, can also feel like numbness.

Fingers, toes, hands and feet are most often affected.

In some cases, burning, sharp or aching pains can be felt in the impacted parts of the body.

Pain may begin mild and grow stronger over time, possibly extending up the arms and legs.

What treatments are available for diabetic neuropathy?

There is no current known cure for the condition.

Instead, the focus of treatment is on maintenance and reducing symptoms worsening.

Options include diet changes, regular exercise and some medications, which can help to reduce blood sugar levels and relieve pain.

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