Painful Diabetic Neuropathy
QUESTION: My boyfriend has type 1 diabetes, he started complaining yesterday about his side hurting.
What can he do about this and what is causing the pain?ANSWER
Side pain is a very general symptom because of the torso being a big part of the human body. For your information, the torso is the part of the body situated between the shoulder and the hip.
Regarding the anatomical point of view, torso is divided in two parts – chests and abdomen. These are natural cavities where a lot of different organs and blood vessels are situated.
With regards to your side pain, it is connected to a lot of serious and non-serious diseases. What is more, I would need to know the exact location of the pain, and how your boyfriend can describe it –i.e. as slight pain, as hard pain, as pulsating pain, etc. Furthermore, I should know if the pain is irradiating to some other location. There are many diseases that are characterized by pain in certain position which irradiates to another.
When we are talking about the side pain which is near by the chest, you have to know that the ribs, the lungs, the pleura, the heart, the esophagus and other organs, big blood vessels and muscles are present in the chest cavity.
Therefore, if you are feeling the pain in the chest, it might be derived from the heart, from the pleura or from some kind of trauma.
If diabetes is not controlled well, this is leading to changes in the lipid metabolism which is causing atherosclerosis.
As a consequence, is represented by ischemic heart disease (IHD) which can cause a pain in the chest. However, keep in mind that the chest pain is not the only symptom for IHD.
During a IHD, the patient feels shortness of breath, dizziness and he starts sweating.
You have to know that the pain in the chest may also derived as result of pneumonia. You have to know that some types of pneumonia are not related with coughing and sweating during the first days. The only symptoms of the viral pneumonia are pain in the chest and high temperature.
However, these symptoms require further examination, because they might be a symbol of something
When we are discussing the pain in the abdomen, you have to know that this cavity is containing a big percent of the organs in the human body.
The liver, the guts, the stomach, the spleen, the pancreas, kidney and other organs from the urinary system are situated in this part of the body.
Furthermore, the abdomen is containing almost all the organs of the reproductive system of the women and a lot of muscles and blood vessels.
In the majority of cases with side pains situated in the stomach, it is a sign of some kind of food poising.
Next, as you probably know, patients with diabetes type two are supposed to follow a strict diabetic diet, which not every patient is able to strictly follow.
These changes in diet may lead to irritating of the stomach, which can be characterized by pain, vomiting and diarrhea.
If the pain is irradiating from the stomach to the shoulder or to the back, you have to know that the possible cause of this pain may be in the kidney or in the gallbladder.
If the pain leads to the back, then, it is a matter of a stone in the kidney; if the pain irradiates to the shoulder, it is a matter of a stone in the gallbladder.
The stone is irritating the normal tissue of these organs which is causing the pain. You have to know that they are also associated with other symptoms like vomiting and high temperature.
In addition, some young people are suffering from appendicitis. This is not something dangerous, because it is treated surgically. That is an inflammatory process of the appendix (part of the guts).
Keep in mind that although the pain caused by the stone in the gallbladder or in the kidney, and the appendicitis is great, the patient can stand it.
The best advice I can give you is to go to the doctor and he will run test in purpose to see what is causing the pain.
If your boyfriend is at the age of 25-30, or younger, you are not supposed to worry about this. Some kind of sport trauma may cause a side pain, but just to be sure, go and see the doctor.
Hope it helped! All the best!
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Written by Dr.Albana Greca Sejdini, Md, MMedSc
Medically reviewed by Dr.Ruden Cakoni, MD, Endocrinologist