Pharmacy Corner
Diabetes: self-monitoring blood glucose & things to watch out for Diabetes nerve problems

What nerve damage is caused by diabetes?

Nerve damage is most common when you have high blood sugars for a long period of time. The nerves affected most are the ones in your hands and feet.


Tip

Tip: If you are experiencing nerve pain, numbness or lack of sensation in your feet, talk to your family doctor to see what options are available to you.


Does everyone with diabetes get nerve pain?

Forty to fifty percent of people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes will eventually get some sort of nerve damage within 10 years of being diagnosed with diabetes.4 The biggest issue is you may actually have nerve damage but are not even aware of it.

What should be I looking out for then?

Table 3 lists symptoms that people with diabetic nerve damage may experience or feel.2,3

Table 3. Common symptoms of diabetic nerve damage.
Symptoms commonly associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy
  • Sharp and shooting pain
  • Burning or tingling feeling similar to “pins and needles”
  • Numbness or not being able to feel pain or temperature
  • Increased sensitivity or pain
  • Weakness in the legs

Talk to your family doctor or pharmacist if you have any of these symptoms or if you think you might have diabetic nerve damage.


Tip

Tip: Checking for signs of nerve damage is extremely easy (and painless)! Your family doctor, diabetes nurse, or foot specialist can do this by touching your foot with something called a “monofilament” which is just a very thin wire.2,3