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October 17, 2002

Other Illnesses

Question from :

Has anyone ever complained about their tongue? I get this feeling that comes and goes, sort of as if I burned it and was wondering if it's due to the medications or my sugar level.

Answer:

I don’t know of anything in particular that people with diabetes have with their tongues, but I’ll throw out some ideas that you can discuss with your personal physician:

People with type 2 diabetes are often obese, and this can lead not only to the worsening insulin resistance but also to increased reflux of gastric acid. This can cause a bad taste in the mouth, or even erosion of dental enamel, sinusitis bronchitis, laryngitis, throat pain, or a feeling something is in the throat (a globus sensation).
People with type 1 diabetes can get other autoimmune diseases. Other autoimmune diseases (although I don’t know that they are related as strongly to type 1 as thyroid disorders and celiac disease) include pemphigus and pemphigoid.
Increased blood glucose levels cross over into the saliva, and people with hyperglycemia would get dental caries, but this would not cause a burning sensation in their tongue. It is worthwhile to get good oral care though, nevertheless (even for people without diabetes).

If I were forced to guess what your problem is, without knowing all your details, I would guess answer #1 would most likely apply.

PSL