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April 5, 2003

Complications

Question from the Netherlands:

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes almost two years ago (although no antibody test was done), and within a few months, I had a tingling feeling in my left foot. Now it's in both feet and there is some constant numbness in it too, although the skin is still quite sensible. My endocrinologist says it is some form of acute neuropathy that probably will go away after a few months, but I can't find any information about this. Have you ever heard of this? I'm always in very good control (A1c: 4.7%). I also have a very rare cholesterol disorder (Hypobetalipoprote�nemia) which causes an overall cholesterol of 1.9. I know this is an advantage in general. Can it have something to do with the neuropathy?

Answer:

Peripheral neuropathy has a number of causes. You need to make sure your physician has considered a broad list of causes for the neuropathy. Although diabetes is associated with neuropathy, it is a diagnosis of exclusion. If it is related to diabetes, it generally gets better when good glucose control is obtained.

As far as the hypobetalipoproteinemia, it may be possible that this could contribute to a neuropathy. The connection is that nerves are insulated with lipid-containing sheaths that may require normal lipids. You may want to check with a neurologist concerning this problem.

JTL