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November 13, 2001

Complications

Question from St. Louis, Missouri, USA:

I'm a 58 year old African American woman who has had type 2 diabetes for four years, and lately I've been having severe pain in both hands. While sleeping, it seems to soothe the pain if I hold my hands off the side of the bed. What is causing the numbness and tingling of my fingertips? Could this be associated with my diabetes?

Answer:

It is possible that the symptoms are from diabetic neuropathy. However, these symptoms could also be from other causes. I would suggest you speak with your physician about having an electromyogram (EMG). This can help to differentiate the source of the pain. One of the other possible causes may be from compression of the nerves in the hands. The combination of the EMG and a physical exam should help narrow the search for the cause of the pain.

JTL