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December 4, 2001

Complications

Question from Altoona, Pennsylvania, USA:

I am 47 years old and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes nine months ago with no previous symptoms. Since then, I have lost 50 pounds and dropped my hemoglobin A1c from 6.9 to 5.7%, but I am now having rather severe paresthesias and burning in lower extremities and hands. I would very much appreciate your explanation.

Answer:

Generally, painful paresthesias , if they are caused by diabetic neuropathy, improve with improved blood sugars. I am not sure why your hands and legs are experiencing these symptoms. The general presentation of all extremities suggests this is not the result of localized nerve compression.

Even though you have been diagnosed with type�2 diabetes for only nine months, it has been shown that people have probably had diabetes for years so it may be that the symptoms are still from neuropathy. There are other forms of neuropathy from metabolic causes. I would check with your physician regarding these other causes. If nothing found, suggest trial of anti-pain medication used for diabetic neuropathy.

JTL