December 6, 2014

Have Diabetes – Be Cautious of Electric Blankets

Yes, please be cautious! Why? If you have had diabetes for a few years or developed neuropathy before your diabetes diagnosis, you may have problems detecting if the blanket gets too hot. Burns can happen according to M. Regina Castro, MD at the Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Castro says, “Over time, excess blood sugar can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish the nerves. This can cause tingling or numbness that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and over a period of months or years gradually spreads upward. Left untreated, it's possible to lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs.”

The above means you may not be able to sense if an electric blanket or heating pad is too hot. Burns can happen from these and can be very painful. Neuropathy can also make it difficult to tell if bath water is too hot.

If you do not have neuropathy, it is still good to be careful if you have diabetes as about 66 percent do have it. I like the suggestion Dr. Castro gives. She says use the electric blanket to warm up the bed before bedtime. Then turn the blanket off or remove it from the bed before you climb in.

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