Long time member, infrequent visitor, but I need to reach out to some people in the know about diabetes.
I've been type 1 for 24 years (i'm 26).

I've always seemed to have pretty poor circulation in my hands and feet... Just now one of my toes is feeling numb, and it looks white. I get this a lot with my fingers especially when it's cold out (even when I'm in the grocery store) where they get cold, and go a bit white. And it can take a long time for the blood to come back.

I feel like some of the fingers I unintentionally overuse with blood tests are worse (my left ring finger is almost always the first to go white). I think my capillary refill is just a few seconds normally (though not totally sure how to count). The numb toe

I don't really know if this is related to diabetes or not... it doesn't seem to fit with what I know about neuropathy. But what is it? I definitely feel this is not a normal thing to be happening, and I also feel like it has been getting worse, though my fingers and toes have gotten cold quickly as long as I can remember.

I asked my endocrinologist about it and I wasn't sure if she understood what I was saying, but she insisted it was something other than diabetes.. kinda brushed it off.

I just really want to know if this is something that happens to a lot of longtime diabetics.. if it's something not technically related, and what I can do, if anything, to make it happen yet.. it's quite stressful when it happens, especially because it often takes 10-15 minutes for a finger or toe to get back to normal.

Thanks for reading :)

Tags: circulation, complications, fingers, neuropathy, numb, toes

Views: 8071

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

You might have Raynaud’s – see if this definition from the Mayo Clinic sounds like what you are experiencing.


I knew someone else that had this & I was just recently reading something about it so it came to mind when you described what you are going thru.

Raynaud’s is an autoimmune problem. You should make an appointment with a rheumatologist to be tested for it. I am surprised though that your endo would not have known that.
Kelly and MBP,

That was my first thought as well, with *cold* being the key word there.

That definitely sounds more like what's going on than neuropathy. Yay! i don't want neuropathy yet.. i'll take the Raynaud's :p. although i don't think it's full blown raynaud's.. my symptoms don't seem nearly as bad as they describe there. I probably won't worry about it too much unless it gets markedly worse
Sounds like Raynaud's syndrome or the start of PAD. I have had this happen a few times during the cold winter months. It never happens in the summer unless I'm in a really, really cold room.
My vote also is to get checked for Raynaud's & PAD. Perhaps time to find a new endo since this one blows off your concerns.
I believe that poor circulation can be affected by diabetes, but I wonder if you might have Raynauds Syndrome which affects the circulation in the extremities such as you have described. Sometimes it can be connected with arthritis and excema. It is worth pursuing.
I am also thinking Raynaud's. My Mother has it and hers is associated with the systemic scleroderma she has. It is important for her not let her hands or feet, etc get cold or they turn purple and if really bad, it will look like she has really dirty hands when she doesn't. Just to be safe you can also be checked for PAD or Peripheral Arterial Disease.
Neuropathy often involves pain as the nerves die, not just numbness. Anything that goes straight to numbness is probably something else, usually due to inflammation somewhere. I wouldn't automatically assume that it's neuropathy, especially if it comes and goes.

I have radiculopathy due to a spinal condition and it can cause both pain and numbness/weakness, but usually it just skips the pain... I get swelling within my spine, nerve roots get squished and I'll just lose feeling on half my leg for as long as a few months (best case it's a few weeks at a time). EMG's have shown that the problem is not in my peripheral nerves.
I have always had this and I believe that it is due to hypothyroidism as well. Have you had your thyroid levels checked? They would be TSH, T3, & T4 on your blood work.

Does the tingling/numbness feel like your toe is "falling asleep" like your leg in school when you had to sit on it too long on the floor during story time? I get that a lot too more than I used to, especially in my fingers at night. I was worried for a while that I might have carpal tunnel, but after some research I found out that it affects different fingers than the ones I have go numb on me. I haven't talked to my doctor about it, but maybe I should. This talk about PAD is scaring me a bit.
It's really just when my extremities get cold.
Like if I drink a cold beer or an ice smoothie, my hand that's holding the cup the fingers will go white and numb.

I do have hypothyroidism, but it's theoretically under control with thyroxin. I haven't personally checked my thyroid level, but I see my endo every 6 months and I presume she'd mention if my levels are out of whack. I'll be sure to double check next blood test I do.

Occasionally my foot will fall asleep or feel numb but I don't think more than normal.
Does your numbness tend to happen when your BG is high (say over 200)? If so this could be an early sign that you need to pull your BGs down. What is your A1c?
Nope.. just the cold, It's not related to high blood sugar. I think my last A1c was 7.something.. I just had bloodwork done so I'll find out tho.




From the Diabetes Hands Foundation blog...

DHF Joins Diabetes Advocacy Alliance

Diabetes Hands Foundation is incredibly honored to join the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance, an organization with the drive and potential to affect a powerful, positive impact on diabetes and healthcare policy. Diabetes Advocacy Alliance is a 20-member coalition of leading professional Read on! →

Helmsley Charitable Trust Renews Support for DHF

HELMSLEY CHARITABLE TRUST GRANTS SUPPORT TO DIABETES HANDS FOUNDATION FOR FOURTH YEAR  Funding in 2015 to support major transitions in programs and leadership at Diabetes Hands Foundation BERKELEY, CA: February 18, 2015 – The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Read on! →

Diabetes Hands Foundation Team


Melissa Lee
(Interim Executive Director, Editor, has type 1)

Manny Hernandez
(Co-Founder, has LADA)

Emily Coles (Head of Communities, has type 1)

Mila Ferrer
(EsTuDiabetes Community Manager, mother of a child with type 1)

Mike Lawson
(Head of Experience, has type 1)

Corinna Cornejo
(Director of Operations and Development, has type 2)

Desiree Johnson  (Administrative and Programs Assistant, has type 1)


Lead Administrator

Brian (bsc) (has type 2)


Lorraine (mother of type 1)
Marie B (has type 1)

DanP (has Type 1)

Gary (has type 2)

David (has type 2)


LIKE us on Facebook

Spread the word


This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.

© 2015   A community of people touched by diabetes, run by the Diabetes Hands Foundation.

Badges  |  Contact Us  |  Terms of Service