Unusual Symptoms of Diabetes

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.

Itchy Skin

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.

Recurrent infections

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.

Sexual problems

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.

Blurred vision

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.

Hearing problems

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.

Long naps

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.

Fruity smell

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.

In conclusion

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.

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20 thoughts on “Unusual Symptoms of Diabetes

  1. What I liked about this article is the simplicity with which it was written. When looking for symptoms or causes for some diseases, I personally go through about 10 pages to find an article in which I understand what I am reading.
    Thank you for great article. I will forward your page to a friend who unfortunately has prpblems with diabetes. 

    1. Thank you so much Barbra for going through this article. I am glad you loved it. Making your audience understand what you are talking about and helping them make the right decisions is the best feeling ever.

      Thank you for forwarding the article.

  2. Hello there, this is a great article because it talks about diabetes, one illness that is common in my family is diabetes and such I have actually been looking for ways to curb it . A friend of mine introduced me to a healthy cooking system called Saladmaster, this cookware helps to reserve lifestyle diseases, thank You for these unusual symptoms .

    1. Hello Maureen

      All the best as you work your way towards preventing diabetes in your life. Diabetes mostly runs in the family but the good news is you can delay or preventing getting diabetes even if its in your family. Making the right lifestyle choices and checking you HbA1c regularly will help you prevent or delay the disease. 

  3. hi there such an amazing article. Thanks for taking time to share this. It is a good thing is I stumbled on this. It is always a pleasure going through your articles.
    I never knew sudden weight-loss is a symptom of diabetes. Well now I do. Your explanations were detailed and easy to comprehend.
    Good job!

    1. Hello Virtue

      I am glad this article was of such great use to you. Share with family and friends because most people are walking around with diabetes yet they do not know. Knowledge of how it presents can help one seek for medical intervention well on time.

      Once again, thank you for going through this article

  4. My awareness and knowledge of diabetes has increased dramatically since I read your article. There are so many warning signs of diabetes that I was not aware of before and I am pleased I now know them thanks to you. I know someone whom has a lot of these symptoms and will take the time to find out how to combat them.

    1. Hello

      I am happy you found this article useful. Many times we walk around with symptoms not being aware of what they could even mean. They say knowledge is power and its is very true.

      Please do share with family and friends as you might actually save someone’s life

  5. Thank you so much for sharing these unusual symptoms of diabetes. This is a great information to have just in case that this happens to my father. I would not have thought that itchy skin can be one of the symptoms. That is good to take note. I will keep the blurry visions and long naps in mind as well.  

    1. Hello Nuttance

      Yes unexplained itchy skin could be a sign of diabetes. It might as well be caused by other diseases but it is good to have yourself checked by your doctor to rule out diseases like diabetes.

      I am glad the post was of value to you

      Thank you

  6. Hi there, I agree that Diabetes is very common. However, I was unaware of the symptoms that bring up in your article. This was informative. I have several friends that have diabetes. I try to keep my body in check because I have seen the damage it does to your body. Thanks to this great information

    1. Thank you so much Chuck. i am glad this article was of great use to you. Kindly share it with friends and family. Especially those with family history of diabetes

  7. Oh my, thank you very much for sharing this useful knowledge. I’m sure there are at least two symptoms here that my cousin has experienced. He started to have darker skin around his neck a few months ago, but he thought it just a regular skin disease. Recently, he also has a habit of napping too long, even though he has a lot of sleep at night. Are these two symptoms enough to justify him to check himself? As far I know, he doesn’t have any other symptoms, yet.

    1. Good day Alblue

      Yes, those symptoms are good enough to get himself screened for diabetes. They might of cause be caused by some other medical condition but it is good practice to get consulted by a doctor if you experience any unexplained changes in your body.

  8. Concerning unusual Symptoms of Diabetes I would like to sum them up like this:

    Darker skin on the neck. One likely warning sign of diabetes is the growth of dark covers on your skin, chiefly around your neck.
    Constant and continual infections.
    Vision changes.
    Sexual dysfunction.
    Weight loss.
    Do you agree with my list?

    1. Good day Abel

      Great summary you have right there. Don’t forget the strange sensation on the feet. People often treat it with home remedies and do not associate it with the possibility of a disease

  9. As a private music teacher, I have students that are very close to me. One of them suddenly show signs of fatigue and have finally detected as a diabetic symptom. But it’s the first time I hear about the fruity smell that diabetes can cause. I will talk to one of my very good friend about those symptoms, since I’m a bit worried about him. He puts a lot of sugar in his drinks, and he always seems to be tired. Unfortunately, he refuses to see the doctor.

    1. Hello

      As a teacher, you are doing a great job being close to your students. It helps them to be open and for you to see when anyone is not well.

      About your friend who refuses to see a doctor, please be patient with him and show him the importance of seeing seeking medical help. Wishing you all the best.

  10. A necessary reminder to us all, Boi. 

    An excellent post on a far too common dilemma in modern populations. Is there any science behind the increasing use of “manufactured” food and its effects on our health? Indigenes populations that were once very healthy are now plagued with obesity and diabetes.

    You present a lot of very important information in your article and I am forwarding it to a family member for his benefit.

    Thanks, Paul

    1. Hello Paul

      The modern populations is faced with a serious ‘pandemic’ of these lifestyle diseases. This is because of the lifestyle choices we make nowadays. People buy ready made food ( mostly unhealthy), as opposed to cooking at home. People do not enjoy fruits and vegetables, they rather enjoy all the fried fast foods.

      People are simply not keen on taking care of their heath. As a result, these lifestyle diseases are on the rise and more and more people are losing their lives.

      We can change this by educating our societies again, by teaching our kids at home, and by actively making the right lifestyle choices

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