Numb Toes And Diabetes
Have you ever been burned by a hot pan? Can you imagine having that feeling from your whole foot? It’s called diabetic neuropathy, and it’s what some diabetics have to endure. Their nerves stop working correctly when their sugar levels rise high enough, and for long enough. Numbness is the most common sensation experienced, but there can also be tingling, “pins and needles”, or the aforementioned burning.
This lack of feeling develops first in the toes, which is because neuropathy is a “length dependent” process. This means that the longer nerves are affected by the disease first. Naturally, that means the toes are most lacking in sensation. The effects can be disastrous. Pain is a very beneficial feeling: it tells a person that they have a problem, and something needs to be done. Without pain, an individual with neuropathy can have skin breakdown, which means the tissues beneath are exposed, and our most important barrier to bacteria is lost.
This is the reason more diabetics have an amputation of a foot or leg than any other population group. If a diabetic is not “on guard”, a simple ingrown nail can lead to loss of a limb, and largely because of the very nasty infections that occur without an intact skin layer. And it certainly doesn’t help that many diabetics experience reduced circulation. The last piece of the puzzle is immunopathy, a decrease in the ability to fight off various types of bacteria.
The key for those afflicted: 1) be observant for new problems; 2) keep your skin healthy and well hydrated; 3) GET TREATMENT EARLY (before a minor problem becomes big); 4) get educated and attend an educational session for diabetes, because THE MORE YOU KNOW, THE BETTER YOU WILL DO!