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May 23, 2002

Complications

Question from Springfield, New South Wales, Australia:

I'm 58 years old, I have type 2 diabetes diagnosed last year, and I have a facial itch/pain mainly on the right side of my face and jaw which travels down my neck to my shoulder causing pain and irritation in all those areas. The itch usually feels like insects crawling around under the skin. I also feel tired all the time, have trouble sleeping, problems concentrating, a general feeling of unease, and I usually have vertigo when these symptoms appear. My blood-glucose level has been around 6 mmol/L [108 mg/dl], but as these symptoms have appeared, my level has increased to 10 mmol/L [180 mg/dl].

Answer:

Sorry to hear of the problems. Do you know that the symptoms referred to your face, jaw, neck, and shoulder are from diabetes? They could also be from something else. Have you had nerve conduction studies, where they stuck needles into the skin? This helps localize the site of the dysfunction. If you have not had these, you may want to speak to your physician about having them.

Diabetes can cause problems with nerves. However, the symptoms usually occur farther out than one year after diagnosis. It sounds like you also need to talk to the physician about trying a medication or therapy that will help this. Improving your blood sugars may help if the symptoms are specifically related to the diabetes. More aggressive therapy for your diabetes also requires consultation with your physician.

JTL