Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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Type 2 diabetes affects millions of people in the UK but it’s hard to estimate its exact prevalence. That’s because the chronic condition does not usually produce any perceptible warning signs for many years. Signs usually surface when high blood sugar levels – the complication of type 2 diabetes – start to inflict damage on the body. This destruction usually shows up in your feet.
Diabetic neuropathy is a complication whereby high blood sugar levels damage nerves in the body.
article”The nerves of the feet are the longest nerves in the body and are often the first nerves to be affected,” explains an in the journal Jama Network.
According to the article, patients with diabetes should have a detailed foot examination every year to look for early signs of diabetic neuropathy.
There are ways to test whether your feet have undergone neuropathy.
According to the JAMA article, the inability to feel a pinprick, cold, or vibration in the toes compared with the upper legs, are all indicative of neuropathy.
Other telltale signs of diabetic neuropathy include:
- Tingling or burning sensation
- Sharp pains or cramps
- Increased sensitivity to touch — for some people, even a bed sheet’s weight can be painful.
How to respond
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 NHS.
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The earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treatment started, the better.
As the NHS points out, early treatment reduces your risk of other health problems.
How to treat diabetic neuropathy
The primary treatment for diabetic neuropathy is to lower high blood sugar levels.
This typically involves overhauling your diet and engaging in regular exercise.
“A diabetes diet is a healthy-eating plan that’s naturally rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories,” explains the Mayo Clinic.
According to the heath body, key elements are fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
“In fact, a diabetes diet is the best eating plan for most everyone,” it notes.
Particular attention must be paid to carbohydrates because carbs can have a pronounced impact on blood sugar levels.
The worst offenders are:
- Sugar and sugary foods
- Sugary soft drinks
- White bread
- White rice.
“If you’ve been advised to make changes to your diet, or you need advice, a diabetes dietitian can help you work out a diet plan,’ advises the NHS.
“Speak to your GP about being referred to a dietitian.”
You can also read government diet advice in the Eatwell Guide that shows the amounts of different types of foods needed to have a well-balanced and healthy diet.
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