FOR people living with diabetes, keeping your blood sugar levels in check can seem like an ongoing battle.
When you’re diabetic your body can struggle to produce enough insulin or the insulin isn’t effective.
With type 1 diabetes, a person’s pancreas produces no insulin, but in type 2, cells in the body become resistant to insulin, so a greater amount of insulin is needed to keep blood glucose levels within a normal range.
But if you don’t keep your blood sugar in check – this could be dangerous and could lead to sensory issues.
Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur if you have diabetes.
Experts at the Mayo Clinic say that high blood sugar levels can injure nerves throughout your body.
For most diabetics, this will damage nerves in your feet and legs.
There are three main sensations in your hands and feet that can be a sign of diabetic neuropathy.
These include a numbness or pain in the hands or feet, a tingling sensation – similar to pins and needles or pain.
It’s important to note though that there are four different types of neuropathy and that your symptoms will differ depending on the type you are suffering with.
“Usually, symptoms develop gradually. You may not notice anything is wrong until considerable nerve damage has occurred”, experts at the Mayo Clinic said.
Peripheral neuropathy is the most common type of diabetic neuropathy.
This affects the feet and legs first and is often more noticeable at night time.
The key signs of this include: Numbness or reduced ability to feel pain or temperature changes, numbness, tingling, cramps, sensitivity and serious foot problems.
Autonomic neuropathy, is common because diabetes can impact nerves in any area of the body.
Main signs include a lack of awareness that blood sugar levels are low – so not feeling weak or tired when your levels aren’t right.
What should my blood sugar be?
Diabetics are urged to monitor their sugar levels and if you’re diabetic it’s likely you will have been given a device so you can do this at home.
You will be told what your average blood sugar level is and this is referred to as your HbA1c level.
While they differ for everyone, the NHS says that if you monitor your levels at home then a normal target is 4 to 7mmol/l before eating and under 8.5 to 9mmol/l 2 hours after a meal.
If it’s tested every few months then a normal HbA1c target is below 48mmol/mol (or 6.5% on the older measurement scale).
Other signs include; severe hip and stomach pain, weak and shrinking thigh muscles and difficulty getting out of a sitting position.
Mononeuropathy comes in two different forms and they are cranial and peripheral.
If you have mononeuropathy you might experience double vision, aching behind one eye or numbness or tingling.
KNOW YOUR LEVELS
It’s important to not confuse high blood sugar with hypoglycaemia, which is when a person’s blood sugar level drops too low, the NHS states.
The condition can impact both people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes as well as pregnant women with gestational diabetes.
It can sometimes affect people who don’t have diabetes, but this will usually be in people who have recently had a heart attack or stroke.
There are many symptoms of high blood sugar and one of the most prominent is an increased thirst and dry mouth.
Other symptoms include tiredness, blurred vision, unintentional weight loss, tummy pain or feeling or being sick.
Esther Walden, Senior Clinical Advisor at Diabetes UK said that if you’re living with type 2 diabetes, managing your blood sugar levels is important in keeping healthy day-to-day, as well as reducing your risk of serious long-term complications such as heart disease, sight loss and stroke.