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November 29, 2007

Complications

Question from Abilene, Texas, USA:

I have had type 1 diabetes for 17 years. I was eight when I was diagnosed. I've always had problems. I've lived with blood sugars in the 600s mg/dl [over 33.3 mmol/L] daily. After I became an adult, they said my sugars would level out, but they didn't. Luckily, I've been blessed with two healthy children. They told me I had to tie my tubes because more children weren't recommended. I did what they said, but I always wished I could have had one more. Anyway, after I had my last daughter, I was put on an insulin pump because I always had some problems with my blood sugars and what not. I get headaches a lot and memory problems, too, so I am wondering if they are from diabetes. Also, my hands and feet are starting to go numb and tingle. I definitely do not want to lose my hands and feet. Is this irreversible? What do I do? Do I seem like a suitable candidate for a transplant?

Answer:

It is difficult to know if the symptoms of numbness in your hands and feet are related to diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy (damage to nerves by high blood sugars) can certainly cause these symptoms. If the symptoms have not been present for a very long time, and are due to diabetes, they may be reversible. The first step in looking at this situation is to get a diagnosis from your physician. If this is related to diabetes, the best treatment is good control of your blood sugar. We recommend that you work with your diabetes treatment team to get the best possible control of the diabetes, without serious hypoglycemia (very low blood sugar). The question about being a candidate for transplantation can only be answered by your physician.

ChR