Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body does not produce enough insulin or is unable to properly use the insulin it does produce. This can lead to an accumulation of sugar in the bloodstream, which can cause a wide range of symptoms, including tingling in the hands. It’s important to understand how type 2 diabetes can affect your nerves and what treatments are available to help manage the symptoms.
How Does Type 2 Diabetes Affect Nerves?
When type 2 diabetes is not well-controlled, the elevated levels of sugar that accumulate in the blood can damage the nerves, a condition known as diabetic neuropathy. There are several types of diabetic neuropathy, but the most common is peripheral neuropathy, which affects the nerves in the extremities. The tingling sensations that are felt in the hands and feet are one of the earliest signs of this type of neuropathy.
Other Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
In addition to tingling, people with type 2 diabetes may experience other symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. These symptoms can include numbness, burning pain, and a feeling of weakness or paralysis in the affected areas. In more severe cases, the person may have difficulty with balance and coordination, as well as trouble with activities that require fine motor skills.
Treating Diabetes-Related Nerve Damage
The first step in treating nerve damage caused by type 2 diabetes is to control the blood sugar levels. This can be done through a combination of diet, exercise, and medication. In some cases, insulin injections may be necessary. Keeping blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible can help to reduce the symptoms of neuropathy. In addition, your doctor may recommend medications to treat the nerve pain.
Other Ways to Manage Nerve Pain
In addition to medications, there are several lifestyle changes that can help to manage the pain associated with diabetic neuropathy. Regular exercise can help to improve nerve function and reduce pain. Massage and physical therapy can help to reduce inflammation and improve circulation. Additionally, it’s important to protect the affected area from further injury by wearing protective footwear and avoiding extreme temperatures.
When to See a Doctor
If you experience tingling in the hands or feet, it’s important to talk to your doctor. There may be other causes of the tingling that need to be addressed, such as vitamin deficiencies or injury. Your doctor can order tests to confirm the diagnosis and recommend the best course of treatment.
The Bottom Line
Type 2 diabetes can cause nerve damage, which can lead to tingling in the hands and feet. It’s important to control the blood sugar levels and work with your doctor to find the best treatment for your symptoms. With proper management and lifestyle changes, the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy can be reduced or even reversed in some cases.