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Check for type 2 diabetes severity with a simple at-home pinprick test

Many people have type 2 diabetes without even realising. This is because symptoms can be hidden and don't necessarily make you feel unwell.

If left untreated, diabetes can cause narrowing of blood vessels, heart disease, stroke, and eye and kidney diseases.

You can manage this disease by making lifestyle changes, taking medications and/or insulin and seeing your provider for regular check-ins.

You can also check yourself at home with a pinprick test to help determine if your blood sugars are becoming dangerously high.

How to do the pinprick test

The at-home test involves a small pin which you or someone else uses to poke the bottom of the foot.

The point of the test is to determine if you can feel the sensation.

If there is no feeling, it could indicate your risk to diabetic neuropathy.

What is diabetic neuropathy

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Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage that can occur in people with diabetes.

Different types of nerve damage cause different symptoms.

Symptoms can range from pain and numbness in your feet to problems with the functions of your internal organs, such as your heart and bladder.

The nerves of the feet are the longest nerves in the body and are often the first nerves to be affected when blood sugars are dangerously high.

According to an article published in JAMA, patients with diabetes should have a detailed foot examination every year to look for early signs of diabetic neuropathy.

There are ways to test whether your feet have undergone neuropathy.

According to the article, the inability to feel a pinprick, cold, or vibration in the toes compared with the upper legs, are all indicative of neuropathy.

Diabetic neuropathy symptoms

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Other tell-tale signs of diabetic neuropathy include:

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

Other signs warning of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Always feeling hungry
  • Feeling very tired
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow healing of cuts and wounds
  • Tingling, numbness, or pain in the hands or feet
  • Patches of dark skin

How to check if you have diabetes

Although a pinprick test can be helpful, you'll need to visit your GP to diagnose 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,” says the NHS.

The national health body added: “The earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treatment started, the better.

“Early treatment reduces your risk of other health problems.”

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