Diabetes type 2: Five types of pain that signal ‘prolonged spells’ of high blood sugar

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

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Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition whereby the pancreas does not produce sufficient insulin or the insulin it does produce is not taken up by the cells. The primary role of insulin is to regulate blood sugar – the main type of sugar found in blood. Without insulin, blood sugar levels can rise to dangerous levels. This can ravage the body.

A casualty of consistently high blood sugar levels is nerve pain, also known as neuropathic pain.

Nerve pain is a result of one of the complications of diabetes, called peripheral neuropathy, or diabetic neuropathy.

Diabetes.co.uk explains: “Diabetic nerve pain most commonly occurs when a person with diabetes has prolonged spells of high blood sugar levels.

“It is thought that high blood glucose affects the nerves by damaging the blood vessels which supply them.”

According to the health body, the following types of pain can signal consistently high blood sugar:

  • Prickling or tingling feelings
  • A burning sensation
  • Sharp pain
  • Stabbing pain
  • Shooting pain.

“These can range from mild to extreme. In serious cases the whole area may become numb.”

General signs of high blood sugar

Symptoms of hyperglycaemia include:

  • Increased thirst and a dry mouth
  • Needing to pee frequently
  • Tiredness
  • Blurred vision
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Recurrent infections, such as thrush, bladder infections (cystitis) and skin infections
  • Tummy pain
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Breath that smells fruity.

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.

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The health body explains: “A GP can diagnose 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.”

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 lower blood sugar

Following a formal diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, steps must be taken to lower high blood sugar.

A healthy diet and keeping active will help you manage your blood sugar level.

There’s nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you’ll have to limit certain foods.

The worst culprits are those that rank high on the glycaemix index GI) – a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates.

It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.

Carbohydrate foods with a high GI rating are broken down quickly by your body and cause a rapid increase in blood glucose have a high GI rating.

High GI foods include:

  • Sugar and sugary foods
  • Sugary soft drinks
  • White bread
  • Potatoes
  • White rice.

Instead, you should opt for low or medium GI foods that are broken down more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time.

They include some fruit and vegetables, pulses and wholegrain foods, such as porridge oats.

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