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January 7, 2002


Question from West Covina, California, USA:

My 33 year old daughter, diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about three years ago, didn't take very good care of herself the first couple of years, but in the past four months, she has been diligent about keeping her blood sugar under control and has been losing weight. About two months ago, she began having pain and numbness in her fingers and toes, and now she complains of her lips being numb saying that the sensation is spreading -- first to her nose and then to her cheeks. and Her doctor prescribed a nonsteroidal medication when the first symptoms appeared and recently increased the dosage. My daughter does has a history of abusing pain medication, but she has also been drug-free for seven months. We are at a loss and don't know if this is an emergency situation or if it is even related to the diabetes. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Is numbness of the lips, nose and cheeks a symptom of diabetic neuropathy? Is there anything that can be done for it?


Your daughter’s symptoms are not characteristic of diabetic neuropathy symptoms. For instance, I would expect other symptoms in hands and feet before other symptoms over face. Although I can’t be sure, I would be diligent about looking for another cause of the symptoms.


[Editor’s comment: I suggest that your daughter might want to ask for a referral to a neurologist to help sort out this problem.