Type 2 diabetes is usually a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood glucose (sugar) level to become too high. This is due to the pancreas not releasing enough of the hormone insulin, which is responsible for controlling the amount of blood sugar in your blood. Unchecked blood sugar levels, if left untreated, can cause a number of potentially life-threatening complications, such as heart disease or stroke.
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Recognising the warning signs associated with type 2 diabetes is therefore the necessary first step to getting diagnosed and taking steps to lower blood sugar levels.
One warning sign to watch out for is early stiffness or clicking when you move the finger, which tends to cause increasing pain, usually in a single finger or thumb, according to Diabetes.co.uk.
This is symptom is called flexor tenosynovitis, also known as trigger finger, a condition in which inflammation occurs around the tendons of the finger.
As the health body explains, when the sheath – the protective covering in living tissue that surrounds the flexor tendons (the smooth cords that connect the muscles of the forearm to the bones in the fingers and thumb), becomes irritated, the flexor tendon catches and cannot flex smoothly or extend the finger.
In addition to stiffness and painful clicking, swelling and redness of the whole finger can develop, with a bump or tenderness located where the tendon is catching and the base of the affected finger.
“Eventually, the finger may not be able to straighten fully and become locked, in which case manipulation of the finger into extension may be necessary,” explains Diabetes.co.uk.
L L Smith et al report that the prevalence of flexor tenosynovitis is estimated at 11 percent in patients with diabetes, compared to below one percent in non-diabetics.
The health body also observed that prolonged high blood sugar levels lead to an increased likelihood of flexor tenosynovitis.
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How to treat flexor tenosynovitis
Treatment will initially be designed to relieve pain and inflammation, which is why resting the affected tendons is necessary for recovery, explains Diabetes.co.uk.
In the long-term, however, treating flexor tenosynovitis caused by high blood sugar levels will involve measures designed to bring blood sugar levels under control.
There are two key components to blood sugar management – diet and exercise.
Over the last couple of years, a low carbohydrate diet has gained increasing traction for its ability to lower blood sugar levels.
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In fact, a recent study at Bispebjerg Hospital in Denmark, in collaboration with, among other partners, found that a combination of a reduced carbohydrate content and an increased share of protein and fat is an effective strategy for regulating blood sugar levels.
The study, which was based on a comparative analysis of different diets over 12 weeks, also found that blood sugar levels improved independent of weight loss for the participants following diet with a reduced carb intake and increased share of protein and fat.
For optimal results, however, a low-carb diet should be complimented with regular exercise.
According to the NHS, you should aim for 2.5 hours of activity a week.
“You can be active anywhere as long as what you’re doing gets you out of breath,” explains the health body.
What are the common signs of type 2 diabetes?
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Urinating more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision
You should consult your GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes or you’re worried you may have a higher risk of getting it, advises the NHS.
It adds: “The earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treatment started, the better. Early treatment reduces your risk of other health problems.”
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