Not Quite Your Spidey Sense
Tingling fingers and toes isn’t a sign of impending doom or a sixth sense. Instead, that mild irritation could be a signal of a health issue, like high blood sugar. Abnormally high blood sugar could lead to a condition called hyperglycemia. Most people with high blood sugar ignore these initial signs like numb or tingling fingers and toes. Checking blood sugar does not have to be complicated. A visit to a friendly neighborhood pharmacist is the first step.
Why your blood sugar matters
As the name implies, the blood contains varying levels of sugar or glucose. The body converts this glucose into energy to power cells and organs. To process and manage glucose, the body uses the insulin produced by the pancreas. Sometimes, there is too much sugar for the insulin to process. In cases of diabetes, the body’s ability to produce insulin is impaired. Excess sugar or hyperglycemia creates a range of unwanted symptoms and health conditions.
Signs of high blood sugar
High blood sugar impacts almost every part of the body in some small way. For instance, hyperglycemia affects the nerves. The result is a burning or tingling sensation in the hands and feet. But that’s just the start. Other symptoms range from frequent urination, weight changes, fatigue, poor concentration, and shortness of breath. Over time, more severe complications can develop like diabetes, heart disease, nerve and skin damage, and a reduced lifespan.
How your pharmacist can help
A pharmacist can check blood sugar levels with a glucose monitor and recommend the next steps. The test kit works by pricking the side of a clean fingertip with a lancet for a sample of blood. A test strip should be already inside the glucose monitor. The pharmacist will hold the test strip to the drop of blood. In a few seconds, the results should appear on the monitor. If the blood sugar is high, the pharmacist will advise of the following possible steps.
What are the results?
Anyone getting a blood sugar test should note that the check should be completed in a fasted state. The results will differ from person to person. For a non-pregnant person with no existing health conditions, the ranges are as follows:
- A standard measure in a fasted state of 8 hours is 99mg/dL or below.
- Between 100mg/dL to 125 is an abnormal, pre-diabetic state.
- Well past 125mg/dL can indicate hyperglycemia or even diabetes.
These figures will be slightly elevated for checks after a 2-hour fast or at bedtime. The pharmacist will know the ranges and help with the next steps.
Your next steps
A high blood sugar result could bring about confusion, stress, and anxiety. The pharmacist should first reassure the patient that the condition is manageable. The first step would be to see a doctor to perform other tests like an A1C test or glucose tolerance test. The pharmacist would also recommend diet changes, increased water intake, and exercise to manage blood glucose levels. The best way to address these levels is with daily testing, so get a personal testing kit. If the doctor diagnoses pre-diabetes or diabetes, make sure to follow all instructions closely.
Don’t ignore those tingling digits
Fingers and toes that are tingling should not be taken lightly. Look for other signs that may feel insignificant, like fatigue, dry mouth, or weight gain. Then, a simple visit to a pharmacist can help with a blood sugar test that takes less than a minute. For abnormally high glucose levels, take action with diet and exercise and see a doctor for more support.