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Does diabetes affect the nerves in the feet?

Q: My mother, aged 53 years, is a chronic diabetes patient. She often feels numbness in her feet, and is very uncomfortable these days. For instance, she lost her foot wear one day and did not realise it. Please advise what to do and what not and is this common in all diabetics?

A:It is likely that your mother is suffering from the effect of diabetes on the nerves of the feet. Since the same problems can arise from other causes (such as deficiency of vitamin B12) it would be best to ask a specialist to examine her. In case the problem is due to diabetes the only treatment is to improve the control of diabetes. Most drugs are not effective. The most important thing is that she should be taught to take good care of the feet, since they are at risk for infections and injury.

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