Symptoms of Diabetes Type 2 – Numbness Or Tingling in Hands and Feet
Symptoms of Diabetes Type 2 can include numbness or tingling in your hands or feet. This tingling and numbness could be a symptom of diabetic neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy is damage to nerves in the body that occurs due to high blood sugar levels from diabetes. Diabetes is one of the most common causes of neuropathy, although nerve trauma or pressure, chemotherapy, B vitamin deficiencies or alcoholism could be to blame. Neuropathy can also be idiopathic – meaning from an “unknown” cause. This diabetes tingling or numbness symptom is one of ten symptoms of diabetes type 2.
Your body is a network of nerves that run from head to toe. The brain sends electrical messages through these wiry filaments of tissue, which snake down the spine before branching off in every direction. From fingertips to toes, nerves control everything from heartbeats to itches. They tell your muscles when and how to move. They also control body systems that digest food and pass urine. This complex network is vital for health.
Unfortunately, diabetes can damage this crucial system. The American Diabetes Association estimates that 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy. While diabetic neuropathy rarely hurts the nerves of the brain or spine, those in the rest of the body are fair game.
According to the Mayo Clinic, prolonged exposure to high blood sugar (glucose) can damage delicate nerve fibers, causing diabetic neuropathy. Why this happens isn’t completely clear, but a combination of factors likely plays a role, including the complex interaction between nerves and blood vessels. High blood glucose interferes with the ability of the nerves to transmit signals. It also weakens the walls of the small blood vessels (capillaries) that supply the nerves with oxygen and nutrients.
Over time excess blood glucose can injure the walls of tiny blood vessels that nourish your nerves, especially in the legs. Nerves send messages to and from your brain about pain, temperature and touch. Three main types of neuropathy affect people with diabetes: peripheral, focal, and autonomic. Peripheral neuropathy is the most common type and can cause a burning sensation, pins and needles jabbing pain, extreme sensitivity to the slightest touch, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, loss of feeling or a sense of wearing an “invisible stocking or glove”. Each of these could be symptoms of diabetes type 2.
Whatever the reason, since nerves are responsible for so many different bodily functions, neuropathy can produce a wide range of symptoms. These tend to be mild at first and get worse over time. Sometimes neuropathy has no noticeable symptoms.
Older people or those who’ve had diabetes for many years are in the most danger of developing neuropathy. Poor blood sugar control may also trigger the nerve disease, even among younger people or those who have had diabetes for only a short time.
If you begin to show signs of diabetic neuropathy, such as diabetes tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, the most important thing you can do is to try to prevent further damage by making sure your blood glucose is under control. Improving blood glucose control can lessen symptoms of neuropathy over time, even as it’s helping to prevent further damage. However, once the nerves are dead, they do not grow back. Prevention is key and recognizing the early diabetes tingling or numbness feeling or the other 9 symptoms of diabetes type 2 can protect you from the complications of diabetes.
Other type 2 symptoms can include excessive hunger and weight gain, excessive thirst, lots of bathroom breaks, fatigue, slow healing sores or bruises, dry itchy skin, numbness and tingling in hands or feet, and frequent infections.