Type 2 diabetes symptoms: Three warning signs of advanced blood sugar damage on your legs

Diabetes type 2: Dr Zoe Williams discusses high blood sugar risks

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When the pancreas is working correctly, and insulin is readily available and effective, the hormone acts as the key to enable the body’s cells to absorb sugar as energy. With every mouthful eaten, carbohydrates are broken down in the body as sugar (i.e. sugar). This sugar is your cell’s energy source, but it can only be absorbed from the bloodstream if insulin is present.

Without adequate supplies of working insulin, sugar begins to build up in the bloodstream, causing internal damage.

If blood sugar levels aren’t managed well, “serious” issues can emerge, warned the charity Diabetes UK.

If you’re beginning to experience hair loss on your legs, you’re advised to visit your doctor.

This is also true if you lose any type of feeling in any of your legs.

Moreover, any cramps that occur in your calves when resting or walking warrant medical attention.

These signs of advanced blood sugar damage could indicate nerve damage – also known as neuropathy.

Neuropathy is one of the potential long-term complications of diabetes.

“Over time, high blood glucose (sugar) levels can damage the small blood vessels that supply the nerves in your body,” the charity explained.

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“This stops essential nutrients reaching the nerves. As a result, the nerve fibres can become damaged, and they may disappear.”

Sensory neuropathy in the legs can be dangerous, as you’re unlikely to feel minor injuries.

If ignored, minor injuries can develop into infections or ulcers.

And, in severe cases, amputation can be the likely result.

General symptoms of sensory neuropathy can include:

  • Tingling and numbness
  • Loss of ability to feel pain
  • Loss of ability to feel changes in temperature
  • Loss of coordination – when you can’t feel the position of your joints
  • Burning or shooting pains – these may be worse at night time.

Such signs are stark reminders that you need to get your blood sugar levels under control.

Without doing so, you’re at increased risk of developing Charcot foot.

Charcot foot is when the bones and joints start to change shape, which you won’t be able to feel.

Symptoms of Charcot foot include:

  • Swelling
  • Warmth – the affected foot feels warmer than the other
  • Change in foot colour
  • Change in foot shape.

Lengthy recovery periods might follow, which may include wearing a plaster cast and a protective boot for many months.

Alternatively, surgery might be needed, which can include amputation.

In order to help control blood sugar levels, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and don’t smoke.

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