High blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, is where the danger of diabetes lies. Chronically high blood glucose can damage nerves, setting the stage for diabetic neuropathy, which in turn can lead to amputation. One lesser known sensation in the lower part of the legs could be signaling that sugar levels are high.
In its advanced stages, diabetes can manifest in many ways, but complications are often concentrated in the legs and feet.
This is because diabetes-related damage often affects nerves that feel touch and pain, such as those in the feet.
According to Common Chiropractic, itchy legs and feet can be a common complaint among diabetics, which can result from periodically high blood sugar.
While some cases are mild, others can be severe.
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“Returning, overwhelming itching in your hands, feet and lower legs is another lesser known symptom of diabetes,” explains the health care provider.
“High blood sugar levels decrease the blood circulation to your extremities, which makes them feel itchy and dry.
“If you use a moisturizing lotion regularly and the itching doesn’t improve, check your blood sugar.”
There are many other possible causes for excessive itching, so diabetes may not necessarily be the root of the problem.
In addition to poor circulation, the American Diabetes Association explains that other causes of excessive itching include female infections and dry skin.
If left untreated, high blood sugar levels can damage the organs and nerves so severely that amputation is required.
Nine out of 10 cases of amputation are linked to type 2 diabetes, which is when the body struggles to produce enough insulin or cells become resistant to it.
Unfortunately, two dozen people a day have their feet and toes amputated due to diabetes.
Other sensations suggestive of high blood sugar levels include pins and needles, or a burning sensation in the feet.
Cuts and ulcers that take longer than average to heal could also be signaling high blood sugar levels.
The NHS has long made diabetes prevention one of its priorities, but alarming figures show that cases of diabetes have doubled in the past 15 years.
During the pandemic, diabetes controls decreased by 7.4 million, putting patients at risk of life-threatening complications, according to researchers from the University of Manchester.
Those who are left untreated face a greater risk of complications including heart attack, stroke and kidney failure – to name a few.
But researchers say 90 percent of cases are lifestyle-related, with obesity at the forefront of causes.
Dr. Martin K Rutter, of the University of Manchester, said: “Health controls for type 2 diabetes are essential in the long-term management of the condition.
“As we recover from the pandemic, our research will help UK healthcare services focus their efforts on how to provide support for people living with diabetes who have been most affected by changes in the way they care.”