Diabetes type 2 symptoms: Four sensations and two visible marks on your toes

Diabetes type 2: Dr Zoe Williams discusses high blood sugar risks

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Carbohydrates – found in bread, pasta, and beans – are broken down by the digestive system into a type of sugar called glucose, which then enters the blood stream. It’s at this point that the pancreas – a long, flat organ positioned behind the stomach – should release adequate supplies of the hormone insulin. Insulin enables the glucose in the bloodstream to be absorbed by the body’s cells to be used up as fuel.

If you have type 2 diabetes, the release of insulin is disrupted.

Being overweight can be a contributing factor to developing type 2 diabetes.

This is because a build-up of visceral fat – stored in the abdomen cavity – dampens insulin sensitivity.

As a consequence, the body’s cells don’t respond to the insulin being released by the pancreas.

Due to this, glucose (i.e. sugar) builds up in the bloodstream, hence the term high blood sugar.

Aside from insulin resistance, not enough insulin might be released from the pancreas, which also leads to high blood sugar.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) described four sensations in your toes that could be indicative of type 2 diabetes.

Any feeling of “tingling, burning, or pain” in your toes could be a sign of nerve damage caused by high blood sugar.

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Known as diabetic polyneuropathy, it’s a health complication from long-term high blood sugar.

The NHS explained that “high levels of sugar in your blood damages the tiny blood vessels that supply your nerves”.

The risk of polyneuropathy is increased if you:

  • Smoke
  • Regularly drink large amounts of alcohol
  • Are over 40 years old.

If nerve damage is severe, you may lose all sensation in your toes altogether.

This means you’ll be unable to feel warmth or coldness in your 10 digits.

Four sensations indicative of type 2 diabetes:

  • Tingling, burning, pain or no sensation in your toes.

One visible marker of type 2 diabetes on the toes is the loss of hair.

Another indication of the condition is “thickened, yellow toenails”.

The CDC added that “a change in the shape of your feet over time” also needs to be reviewed by your doctor.

People with high blood sugar may also at be increased risk of athlete’s foot in between the toes.

Athlete’s foot

The fungal infection will manifest as “itchy, white patches between your toes”, the NHS explained.

Anti-fungal medication can be bought over the counter in the form of creams, sprays and powders.

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