Diabetes type 2 symptoms: How to spot a diabetic ulcer on your foot – two key signs

Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition whereby the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels or the insulin it does produce is not taken up by the cells. Without the regulatory effect of insulin, blood sugar levels are given free reign to rampage through the body. This can give rise to diabetic neuropathy – a type of nerve damage that can occur if you have diabetes.

The site of this destruction is typically the legs and feet.

Foot ulcers are one of the main visual signs of diabetic neuropathy.

According to Buoy Health, an online symptom checker, the foot ulcers are usually painless, owing to the loss of sensation caused by the blood sugar damage to the nerves.

“Many people may not notice when they injure their feet and thus do not properly treat or protect the wound,” explains Buoy Health.

The health body adds: “This is exacerbated by poor wound healing that occurs in diabetes.”

Other signs of diabetic neuropathy include:

  • Tingling or burning sensation
  • Sharp pains or cramps
  • Increased sensitivity to touch — for some people, even a bedsheet’s weight can be painful.

How to respond

According to the NHS, you should see a GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes or you’re worried you may have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

“You’ll need a blood test, which you may have to go to your local health centre for if it cannot be done at your GP surgery,” explains the health body.

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The earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treatment started, the better.

As the NHS points out, early treatment reduces your risk of other health problems.

How to treat diabetic neuropathy

The primary treatment for diabetic neuropathy and other complications associated with type 2 diabetes is to lower your blood sugar levels.

There are two key components to blood sugar control – diet and regular exercise.

There’s nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you’ll have to limit certain foods.

Foods with a high carbohydrate content are the worst culprits because carbs are broken down into glucose (blood sugar) relatively fast.

Applying the glycaemic index (GI) to your food choices can help you to identify the riskier carbs.

The GI is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates.

It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.

Carbs that are broken down quickly by your body and cause a rapid increase in blood glucose have a high GI rating.

High GI foods include:

  • Sugar and sugary foods
  • Sugary soft drinks
  • White bread
  • Potatoes
  • White rice.

Low or medium GI foods are broken down more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time.

They include:

  • Some fruit and vegetables
  • Pulses
  • Wholegrain foods, such as porridge oats.

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