Surveys of people with diabetes report rates of chronic pain anywhere from 20% to over 60% — much higher than rates in the general population. The types of pain most often reported by people with diabetes include back pain and neuropathy pain in the feet or hands. (Peripheral neuropathy, or nerve damage in the feet and hands, is a common complication of diabetes.) Headaches and other pain sites are also frequently reported. Many people with diabetes also have arthritis, fibromyalgia (an arthritis-related illness that causes widespread muscle and joint pain and fatigue), or other painful conditions.
Diabetes experts feel that these blood glucose monitoring devices give patients a significant amount of independence to manage their disease process; and they are a great tool for education as well. It is also important to remember that these devices can be used intermittently with fingerstick measurements. For example, a well-controlled patient with diabetes can rely on fingerstick glucose checks a few times a day and do well. If they become ill, if they decide to embark on a new exercise regimen, if they change their diet and so on, they can use the sensor to supplement their fingerstick regimen, providing more information on how they are responding to new lifestyle changes or stressors. This kind of system takes us one step closer to closing the loop, and to the development of an artificial pancreas that senses insulin requirements based on glucose levels and the body's needs and releases insulin accordingly - the ultimate goal.
Antidepressants most commonly treat depression. However, they can be prescribed for diabetic nerve pain because they interfere with chemicals in your brain that cause you to feel pain. Your doctor may recommend tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, imipramine (Tofranil), and desipramine (Norpramin). These can cause unpleasant side effects like dry mouth, fatigue, and sweating.
People with diabetes may also worry about trying new foods; traveling; diabetes complications; the toll the condition takes on their family; and healthcare costs, which are 2.3 times higher than for someone without diabetes. For Sandi, she worries about the cost of medication and, if her kidneys worsen, the possibility that she’ll have to go on dialysis. “That’s a really scary thought,” she says.
When 69-year-old Sandi, of Houston, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2007, she was confident she’d be able to manage the disease well. “I felt like, ‘I have this handled, it will be great,’” she recalls. Yet after the death of her best friend, five years ago, she started to experience anxiety and depression, and, she says, “it started manifesting more with my diabetes.”
Diabetes is a number of diseases that involve problems with the hormone insulin. Normally, the pancreas (an organ behind the stomach) releases insulin to help your body store and use the sugar and fat from the food you eat. Diabetes can occur when the pancreas produces very little or no insulin, or when the body does not respond appropriately to insulin. As yet, there is no cure. People with diabetes need to manage their disease to stay healthy.