I have type 2 diabetes. I have discovered that when my blood sugars get between 50-70 that my pain level goes from a constant 6-7 to a 10+. Why? I asked my doctor and she was unable to give me an answer.

Dr. William Sullivan


I assume that you are having neuropathic foot pains that worsen with low blood glucose levels. If you are referring to neuropathic pains related to your diabetes, there are well-described instances where these pains can worsen when diabetes control improves significantly. This is called treatment-induced neuropathy. It has been described mostly in relation to individuals with diabetes and chronically elevated blood glucose levels (A1c 12-16%) who have a rapid improvement in diabetes control with insulin therapy. The onset of the treatment-induced pain usually occurs within 6 weeks of rapid glucose control. The good news is that treatment-induced neuropathic pain is typically self-limited and will improve over time. Talk with your healthcare provider about whether you may have treatment-induced neuropathic pains and whether you might benefit from evaluation from a neurologist.

2 replies

elaine52 2013-04-23 15:49:36 -0500 Report

I have neuropathy that get worse when my sugars go down, I get numbing and tingling in both my feet and hands…

Patty Bonsignore
Patty Bonsignore 2012-05-21 09:59:07 -0500 Report

High blood glucose levels can be irritating to the nerves, but this is usually if the blood glucose is elevated over time. It does not occur acutely. The increased pain that you describe with low blood glucose is not a symptom we typically hear patients describe. But the reality is that everyone responds to lows differently. Some people get tingling in their upper lip, others experience sweating and dizziness, while others might get a fast heartbeat. There is no clear scientific explanation for your symptoms, but that does not mean that it does not happen and that the symptoms are not real. If in fact the lows are causing worse pain, than once you treat the low, the pain levels should improve. If they do, then it sounds like the lows are causing the pain to be worse. If they don’t improve, than it is not likely that the lows are causing the problem.