Diabetes And Body Temperature: Managing Cold Numb Or Tingly Feelings
When you live with diabetes, its not uncommon to feel cold or numb, especially in your extremities. Your core body temperature is closely tied to your metabolism, and since diabetes wreaks havoc on your metabolic processes, youre bound to sweat, shiver and shake more than the average person.
Part of the problem comes down to your diabetes management, but thats not the only force at play. Circulation, insulin levels, nerve problems, and other lifestyle factors could be interfering with your natural heat regulation.
Find out whats behind your cold, numbness or painful tingling, and take steps to kick-start your internal heating system.
Always Follow Up With The Doctor
It is very important to call your doctor as soon as possible after experiencing nocturnal hypoglycemia. The patient and doctor should try to figure out what caused the episode and how to prevent it from happening again.Often the doctor will suggest:
Changing the dose or timing of insulin or other medications
Setting an alarm for the early morning so that the patient can test their blood glucose levels and determine how often the episodes occur
Having the person wear a continuous glucose monitor that checks blood glucose every five minutes with an alarm that wakes the patient from sleep if levels start to drop too low. This option is usually reserved for patients who experience frequent or severe nocturnal hypoglycemia
Managing Blood Glucose Levels While Sick
Its especially important to continue to monitor your blood glucose levels on a regular basis and administer insulin when needed. Using a touchscreen insulin pump with continuous blood glucose monitoring can help individuals more easily manage blood glucose levels compared to injections.
Being ill may leave you with less energy and less desire to continue to practice good diabetes management. It is important to continue to eat meals regularly, as a loss of appetite may make it difficult to stick to a healthy diet and eat regularly.
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Some Causes Might Be More Serious Than You Think
by Kim Hayes, AARP, February 23, 2018
Certain medical conditions can cause your hands and feet to always feel chilled.
As anyone who has worked in a shared office space can tell you, people have different body temperatures. Some people freezing while others roast is quite common, but if you constantly feel chilly when others seem comfortable, there may be a medical issue at play.
The numerous potential causes for coldness include hypothyroidism, calorie reduction and general aging, where people become more sensitive to cold temps due to a decrease in the metabolic rate and thinning of fat under the skin. A few other causes that affect older people frequently should probably be addressed with a doctor.
If A Person Is Unconscious
If a person loses consciousness because of severe hypoglycaemia, they need to be put into the recovery position and given an injection of the hormone glucagon . The injection will raise their blood glucose level.
The injection should be carried out by a friend or family member who knows what they’re doing, or by a trained healthcare professional.
You should dial 999 to request an ambulance if:
- a glucagon injection kit isn’t available
- there’s nobody available who’s trained to give the injection
- the injection is ineffective after 10 minutes
Never try to put food or drink into the mouth of someone who’s unconscious as they could choke.
If you’re able to give a glucagon injection and the person regains consciousness, they should eat some longer-acting carbohydrate food, such as a few biscuits, a cereal bar or a sandwich.
You should continue to monitor the person for signs of recurring symptoms in case they need to be treated again.
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Follow Your Doctors Instructions
Every case of diabetes is unique. This is why constant communication with your doctor is so important. For example, your doctor may advise you to take more insulin to help reduce your blood sugar. Whatever they advise, follow their lead. If you have questions or concerns, be as open and honest as you can to ensure both of you have all the correct information and that you are confident about your course of action when sick.
Low Blood Sugar Levels In Diabetes
People with diabetes can have low blood sugar levels because of the medicines they have to take to manage their diabetes. They may need a hormone called or diabetes pills to help their bodies use the sugar in their blood.
These medicines help take the sugar out of the blood and get it into the body’s cells, which makes the blood sugar level go down. But sometimes it’s a tricky balancing act and blood sugar levels can get too low.
People with diabetes need to keep their blood sugars from getting too highor too low. Keeping blood sugar levels in a healthy range means balancing when and what they eat, and when they exercise with when they take medicines.
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Nutritional Solutions To Avoid High Blood Sugar
Dr. Doyle says, The solution is to drink plenty of fluids and to keep your blood sugar down in the first place!
And the absolute most effective way to do that is to adopt a whole food plant based diet.
This is a diet based on vegetables, fruits, whole unprocessed grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, with minimal animal products and processed foods or sugars.
Does Everyone Have Symptoms From Hypoglycemia
Some people dont have symptoms or dont notice them. Healthcare providers call that situation hypoglycemia unawareness. People with such a challenge arent aware when they need to do something about their blood sugar. Theyre then more likely to have severe episodes and need medical help. People with hypoglycemia unawareness should check their blood sugar more often.
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Why Do These Symptoms Matter For Diabetics
These symptoms are essential for diabetics to understand, because they may encounter high or low blood sugar levels from time to time.
A cold or virus can cause sudden high blood sugar levels, and understand the symptoms means knowing how to deal with hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
People with diabetes who can recognise the symptoms can avoid levels that lead to medical emergencies such as diabetic ketoacidosis
How To Treat Someone Who’s Having A Seizure Or Fit
Follow these steps if someone has a seizure or fit caused by a low blood sugar level:
Tell your diabetes care team if you ever have a severe hypo that caused you to have a seizure or fit.
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Slurred Speech And Clumsiness
Your sugar-starved brain may change the way you sound. Slurred speech is a common symptom associated with blood sugar levels that drop below 40 mg/dL, according to University of Michigan Health Systems. Combined with clumsiness another sign of low blood sugar you may seem as though you’ve had a few too many cocktails, even if you haven’t touched a drop, according to the National Health Service.
For more on managing low blood sugar, check out Diabetes Daily’s article “How to Treat Lows Without Sabotaging Your Diet!“
Low Blood Sugar Symptoms
The warning signs of hypoglycemiamay vary from person to person, but its important to know about and be alert to all of them, including:
- Feeling very shaky or trembling
- Weakness or dizziness
- Sweating or feeling cold and clammy
- Extreme hunger pangs
- Trouble keeping your balance or staggering when you walk
- Pale or gray skin
- Becoming confused and unable to think or concentrate
- Feeling uncharacteristically moody or cranky
- A tingling sensation around your mouth
- Double vision or vision that has grown blurry
- A quickening heartbeat
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Low Blood Sugar Levels
Uncontrollable shivering can be caused by low blood sugar levels. Shivering, in this case, is accompanied by a headache, dizziness, sweating, and rapid heartbeat. When people with diabetes take their insulin shot and forget to eat food or eat less food, they may end up having excessive insulin in their blood, which can lead to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
Other reasons for hypoglycemia are:
- Alcohol abuse
- Low carbohydrate intake
- Skipping meals
When people with diabetes have low blood sugar levels, it can cause their body to uncontrollably shiver or shake. However, people without diabetes may also experience low blood sugar levels and uncontrollable shaking due to excessive alcohol intake, taking certain herbal supplements, and too much exercise.
It is recommended to eat small frequent meals throughout the day to help prevent a drop in the blood sugar level and prevent episodes of uncontrollable shaking from happening.
What Causes A Low Blood Sugar Level
In people with diabetes, the main causes of a low blood sugar level are:
- the effects of medicine especially taking too much insulin, medicines called sulfonylureas , medicines called glinides , or some antiviral medicines to treat hepatitis C
- skipping or delaying a meal
- not eating enough carbohydrate foods in your last meal, such as bread, cereals, pasta, potatoes and fruit
- exercise, especially if it’s intense or unplanned
- drinking alcohol
Sometimes there’s no obvious reason why a low blood sugar level happens.
Very occasionally, it can happen in people who do not have diabetes.
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Knowing Your High And Low Blood Sugar Symptoms Allows You To Test
Once you understand symptoms of high and low blood sugar, it is possible to test quickly and avoid serious problems.
Keeping to a clear target range is one of the key goals of diabetes management, and knowing when you have the symptoms of high or low blood sugar levels allows you to test your blood sugar and make a correction.
It can be important to recognise the difference between low and high blood sugar symptoms. Being able to spot when youre high or low and sugar can help you to manage your diabetes.
Where possible, its best to check with your blood glucose meter, whether you are high or low, before taking any remedial action. If blood sugar is regularly high you may get recurrent episodes of thrush.
High blood sugar is serious and can result in nausea, vomiting or loss of consciousness. In type 2 diabetes, this can in the form of a condition called Hyperosmolar Hyperglycaemic State and in type 1 diabetes in the form of ketoacidosis.
It is important to seek emergency medical help.
Very low blood sugar can lead to convulsions and unconsciousness. It is important to seek emergency help if the person with diabetes is unable to bring their sugar levels back to normal.
The University of Birminghams Medical School states that if the body becomes used to being low on sugar, hypo symptoms can become less noticeable. Loss of symptoms of low blood sugar in particular can be dangerous.
If you have difficulty recognising the symptoms of hypoglycemia, speak to your doctor.
The Effects Of Low Blood Sugar On Your Body
Every cell in your body needs energy to function. The main source of energy might come as a surprise: Its sugar, also known as glucose. Blood sugar is essential to proper brain, heart, and digestive function. It even helps keep your skin and vision healthy.
When your blood sugar levels fall below the normal range, its called hypoglycemia. There are many identifiable symptoms of low blood sugar, but the only way to know if you have low blood sugar is by taking a blood glucose test.
Learn more about the symptoms of low blood sugar, as well as the long-term effects on the body.
most common reasons for low blood sugar are some medications used to treat diabetes, such as insulin.
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas can no longer produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas doesnt make enough insulin, or your body cant use it properly. Too much insulin or oral diabetic medication can lower the blood sugar level, leading to hypoglycemia.
However, contrary to popular belief, low blood sugar isnt exclusive to diabetes, though it is rare. It can also happen if your body makes more insulin than it should.
Another possible cause of low blood sugar is drinking too much alcohol, especially over long periods of time. This can interfere with the livers ability to create a buildup of glucose and then release it into your bloodstream when you need it.
Other causes include:
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How You Can Manage Cold Feet At Home
Dealing with perpetually cold feet can feel like an uphill battle. Once you identify the cause of your cold feet, you have to find a way to manage them. The following are some at-home remedies you can use to keep your feet at a comfortable temperature level. Remember to consult your doctor before making any major changes to your health care routine.
- Wear diabetic cotton socks and shoes at all times. Make sure your socks are warm and comfortable your shoes should have soles thick enough to protect and support your feet.
- Keep a watchful eye on your feet for cuts, scrapes, and anything else that the coldness of your feet may numb you to.
- Stay active throughout the day. Regular exercise works to manage your blood sugar levels and help promote circulation to your feet.
- Foot baths, heating pads, and hot water bottles can be used to help warm up extremely cold feet. Care should be taken to check the temperature before use, as these can burn your skin.
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Treatment Options For Cold Sweats
What kind of treatment you require depends on the cause of your cold sweats. Here are some general treatment methods to treat your cold sweats at home.
- Manage stress and partake in relaxation techniques
- Make changes to your sleeping environment wear loose-fitting clothes, remove lights, or lower the temperature
- Avoid consuming food prior to bed as it can trigger nighttime cold sweats. Also, eat foods that keep your blood sugar leveled, so it does not crash
- Keep yourself busy during cold sweat episodes as a means to further reduce stress
- If cold sweats worsen or are accompanied by other more serious symptoms, seek out medical attention
- Dont smoke
- Exercise regularly
- Stay hydrated throughout the day
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How Peripheral Neuropathy Leaves You Cold
When diabetes goes uncontrolled for a long time, the nerves in your hands and feet could sustain permanent damage. This sort of nerve damage in the extremities is known as peripheral neuropathy, and it can interfere with all sorts of regular sensations.
For many people, nerve damage leads to pain, numbness or tingling. You may feel a pins and needles sensation in your fingers that lingers for a long time, or you could lose sensitivity, making it more difficult to pick things up or feel different textures. In some cases, the opposite is true heightened sensitivity makes any contact agonizing.
Since the nerves in your limbs also monitor temperature and send those signals to your brain, its not uncommon for hands and feet to feel abnormally cold, too. Coldness or numbness that stems from peripheral neuropathy often brings along some other common symptoms, like:
- Sharp pains
- Loss of reflexes
- Loss of balance
If you havent noticed any strange symptoms in your extremities other than the cold feeling, you may be dealing with a different diabetic complication. Another type of neuropathy may be causing the trouble, or it could have more to do with your blood sugar levels or insulin usage.
What If Im Experiencing Hypoglycemic Episodes Even Though My Doctor Has Confirmed That Im Not Diabetic Or Prediabetic
If you have low blood sugar and dont have diabetes or prediabetes, it can be a sign of another serious health issue such as a tumor, hormone deficiency, kidney disorder, anorexia, or other eating disorder, all of which can cause dangerously low blood sugar.
Anorexia has the highest mortality of any psychiatric disorder, and the cause of death can be hypoglycemia, so take your illness seriously and seek help if you suspect your eating disorder may be progressing to the point where it is causing you to faint or experience other signs and symptoms of dangerously low blood sugar. The National Eating Disorders Association has resources on how to identify the signs that you may have an eating disorder, a hotline for help, as well as easily accessible information on everything from how to know when you need help to how to find quality treatment options in your zip code.
People who are not diabetic don’t spontaneously have hypoglycemia for no reason, explains Dr. Christofides. Its often an indication of another underlying issue, such as a hormone deficiency or eating disorder, so its important to schedule an appointment with your doctor to determine the cause in order to prevent complications.
Common causes of hypoglycemia in people without diabetes include:
- Pancreatic tumor
- Medication that inhibits the proper production of insulin
- Hepatitis or kidney disorders
- Hormone deficiencies
- Anorexia and other eating disorders
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Tips To Survive The Summer Heat
Take these steps to keep your diabetes under control when the temperature soars:
Stay hydrated. Lori Roust, MD, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, explains, The problem is that in the heat, people tend to get dehydrated easily. When youre dehydrated, you have higher concentrations of blood sugar because less blood flows through your kidneys. With less blood, your kidneys dont work as efficiently to clear out any excess glucose from your urine. When its hot, be sure to drink plenty of water or sugar-free drinks. Dont wait until you are thirsty to replenish fluids.
Store your medications properly. High summer temps can affect your diabetes medications, glucose meter, and diabetes test strips. When its hot out, its easy for insulin and other drugs to become degraded, Dr. Roust says. Be sure to store your medications properly out of the extreme heat. Never leave them in your car on a sweltering summer day, for instance. It could get up to 150 degrees inside your car, warns Roust.
If youre traveling, dont forget to take your type 2 diabetes medicines with you. You may need to carry them in a cooler with an ice pack. Just be sure theyre not sitting directly on ice or the ice pack.
Test more often. You may need to test your blood sugar levels more frequently so that you can adjust your insulin and your diet as necessary. Talk with your diabetes educator about guidelines if you’re unsure of the best schedule, Ginn says.