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December 30, 2000


Question from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia:

I'm a 31 year old female with type 1 for just over a year now, and my blood sugars are fairly well controlled. Just recently, I've been experiencing pain at the tip of both my big toes. It's like an aching pain which comes and goes. It's also been quite warm lately and this only seems to start in the afternoons. Could this the first signs of neuropathy after just one year?


The first evidence of neuropathy is usually years after the diagnosis. However, there are patients who have had a more insidious onset to their diabetes where neuropathy may be present at diagnosis. The problem with neuropathy is that it is a clinical diagnosis. You need to speak with your doctor about this. The onset of neuropathy is associated with alcohol intake, smoking, and the length and severity of poor blood sugar control. Very often, improvement in blood sugar control has the effect to decrease painful neuropathy. If not, there are other medications which work to decrease the discomfort.


[Editor’s comment: Also, see Diabetes and Foot Pain (at the Diabetes Monitor) for some additional thoughts about diabetic neuropathy.