Diabetes is a very common disease. It is even more common than you may think. Type-1 diabetes often happens suddenly whereas type-2 diabetes happens gradually and may be subtle. Many people are walking around having type-2 diabetes or prediabetes without even knowing.
Knowing whether you have diabetes is very crucial as untreated disease can lead to irreversible complications. Many people often are not aware that they have diabetes until they present with complications. Diabetes related complications include damage to the nerve, the eyes and the kidneys.
Diabetes often presents with common symptoms such as urinating frequently, feeling fatigued, constant hunger, and frequently being thirsty. However, it sometimes presents with some unusual symptoms that many people do not associate with the disease. It is therefore advisable to pay attention to the little changes in your body and get help if need be to get your health on the right track.
Here are the 11 unusual symptoms of diabetes that you must be aware of.
Darkening of the skin around your neck
This is a common occurrence in people with type-2 diabetes. It is known as acanthosis nigricans and is often a marker of insulin resistance (loss of the body’s sensitivity to insulin). Insulin resistance eventually leads to type-2 diabetes.
With acanthosis nigricans, dark patches develop commonly around the skin and rarely on the groin or armpits. High insulin levels in the blood triggers skin cells to reproduce rapidly and the new cells have more melanin, resulting in dark patches. It is an early warning sign that your blood sugar levels may be high. It may rarely also be caused by other conditions and certain medications but having your blood sugar checked is a good step to take.
With high blood sugar levels, your kidneys will eliminate more fluid in the process of trying to eliminate excess sugar in your blood. The result is constant urination which results in loss of fluid, hence dehydration. Dehydration will then result in a dry itchy skin. If you experience a dry itchy skin with no apparent cause, it might be a good idea to get yourself screened.
Sudden weight loss
Have you experienced a recent significant drop in your weight with no explanation? It might be a sign of diabetes. This is because when your body does not produce insulin or cannot utilize the insulin in your blood, your body cells does not get enough glucose for energy (insulin moves glucose into the cells for energy). The result is that your body starts to burn fat and muscle for energy. Losing fat and muscle mass then results in sudden weight loss.
Slow wound healing
Constantly elevated blood sugar levels lower your body’s immune system and the wound healing process because it slows the ability of the blood to deliver oxygen to the wound. Therefore, a bite mark or a cut that takes too long to heal may be a sign of diabetes. Don’t ignore this sign and get tested.
Constantly elevated blood sugar levels take a toll on your body’s immune system. Often times a weak immunity will present as recurrent infections. If you are constantly being treated for common cold or urinary tract infections, it might be a warning sign to get screened. Yeast infections are also very common in diabetes. Often time’s women would present with on and off vaginal yeast infections whilst men often have a jock itch.
High blood sugar levels damage you blood vessels and nerves including those that are responsible for sexual response. As a result, it affects sexual function in both men and women. Man may experience erectile dysfunction while women may experience problems with arousal or vaginal dryness. As much as these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, it is a good idea to also get you screened for diabetes if you have these.
Strange sensation in your feet
Damage to the nerves is one of the most common complications of diabetes. It can again be the first warning sign that you might be having the disease. The nerve damage often presents with tingling, burning or numbness to the hands or feet. These symptoms can be caused by simple things like wearing high heels or other diseases like nerve compression, BUT they can also be caused by diabetes. Don’t ignore these symptoms and visit your doctor soon.
Elevated blood sugar levels can damage your retina and cause fluctuation of fluid levels around your eye balls causing your eye to swell. You therefore experience blurry vision. The vision goes back to normal when you control your blood sugar levels. However, if blood sugar levels are not controlled in the long term, permanent damage to your eyes occurs. This is known as diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetes often times affects the nerves in your body. It therefore can affect the nerve cells (the auditory nerve) in the ear and result in hearing problems. Hearing problems are often common in the elderly or with certain infections, but can also be a sign of type-2 diabetes. As much as it is an unusual symptom of type-2 diabetes, it should not be ignored.
Do you feel tired every day and take long naps during the day more often? It might be a sign that you are developing diabetes. Studies have revealed that people who take naps longer than an hour are more likely to have type-2 diabetes than those who napped less. This increase day time sleeping is often due to extreme fatigue, lack of adequate sleep or emotional disturbances which are all associated with diabetes.
Once your body cannot get enough glucose into your cells for energy, it starts to break down fat for energy. During this process, ketones are produced. It is the ketones that cause the fruity or nail polish-like smell when exhaled out of the lungs.
Being aware of the above usual symptoms of diabetes, timely action and timely medical consult can prevent unpleasant diabetes related complications. That is why it is important to take action if you have any of the above mentioned symptoms.
Get tested for diabetes today. Testing can be done using a glucose meter which gives you the now-blood-sugar results or do an HbA1c test which gives you a picture of how controlled the blood sugar levels have been for the past 3 months.