Diabetes: ‘Waking up’ with paresthesia in your feet is a ‘hidden’ sign of high blood sugar

Over 4.9 million people have diabetes in the UK and over 13 million people are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes – a chronic condition characterised by high blood sugar levels. Heeding the warning signs of diabetes is imperative to getting a diagnosis and thwarting its progression. With that in mind, health experts from NiceRx have drawn attention to the warning sign that can strike in the morning.

According to the team, pins and needles, also known as paresthesia, is a “hidden” sign that can surface upon waking.

They explained: “The increased glucose levels in the blood can damage nerve endings which can result in tingling and numbness in the feet and hands.

“If you constantly find yourself waking up with pins and needles, this could be the cause.”

The health experts highlighted other changes indicative of diabetes.

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Hunger and fatigue being particularly prominent.

The NiceRX team explained: “Your body needs glucose for energy, but to convert it to energy, your cells need insulin to absorb it.

“Diabetes is linked to low insulin levels, therefore if your body doesn’t make enough insulin it can’t absorb enough glucose for energy, which leads to fatigue.

“This waste of glucose and low energy can also result in increased hunger.”

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According to the specialists, thirst and excessive urination can also signal blood sugar dysfunction.

“If your body is struggling to absorb the excess glucose in your system, your kidneys will have to flush it out – resulting in excessive trips to the toilet,” they noted.

The average person will go to the toilet four to seven times in 24 hours, “so if you find yourself exceeding this significantly, it could be worth looking into the cause. With excessive urination comes increased thirst, which can also play a part in more trips to the bathroom”.

The NiceRX team advised: “Contact your GP if this starts to impact parts of your life such as sleep and work.”

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Other warning signs to watch out for include:

  • Dry mouth and skin – Excessive urination can lead to less moisture in other areas of the body such as the mouth and skin. This can result in discomfort, increased thirst and itchy skin. These can also be caused by other factors, however, it is important to visit your GP if you have concerns surrounding these symptoms.
  • Blurred vision – The increased glucose levels in the blood, alongside fluctuating fluid levels in the body, can result in swelling of the eye’s lens, which causes blurred vision. If you find your vision becoming blurry at certain points in the day, possibly after eating or drinking something high in sugar, you might want to contact your GP.

How to respond

The NHS says: “Visit your GP as soon as possible if you experience the main symptoms of diabetes.”

Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly over weeks or even days.

Many people have type 2 diabetes for years without realising because the early symptoms tend to be general.

What comes before

It’s worth noting that many more people have blood sugar levels above the normal range, but not high enough to be diagnosed as having diabetes.

This is sometimes known as pre-diabetes.

“If your blood sugar level is above the normal range, your risk of developing full-blown diabetes is increased,” advises the NHS.

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