According to a report (R) released by the CDC, over 100 million US adults suffer from diabetes and prediabetes. With the severity of this “chronically progressive” disease, it is very important that you keep an eye out on the symptoms.
While the common symptoms of frequent urination and fatigue are known, it is the unusual symptoms that not many individuals know of.
In medical terms, Diabetes is a condition where the body either fails to produce enough insulin or produces in excess. The former type is Type-1 diabetes and the latter is known as Type-2 diabetes.
Both the conditions cause a sharp spike in the levels of blood sugar, leading to unregulated levels of blood sugar in the body.
Since CDC and leading diabetes associations characterize this condition as a chronic, progressive disease, it is very important to identify the symptoms early on in the disease to possibly reverse the impacts of the disease.
1- Presence of darker patches on skin
A condition medically known as acanthosis nigricans (AN), is characterized by the appearance of dark patches on the skin, especially around the neck region.
The dark patches often develop around the folds of the skin and can be noticeable around the groin region too.
Some of the diabetics have even complained about a change in the texture of the skin of their neck, feeling thicker.
This is predominantly noticed in patients suffering from Type-2 diabetes. With the high levels of insulin in the bloodstream, the skin cells regenerate faster than normal, leading to the appearance of the dark patches.
Also, Read: 14 Ways to Prevent Better Sugar Spikes
2- Affected vision
If you notice a progressive worsening of your vision, it is likely a sign of affected vision. While you will most definitely need to book an appointment with an ophthalmologist, studies have found that sudden vision changes could be a sign of diabetes.
Since the unregulated blood sugar in the body contributes to a fluid imbalance in the body, the same effect the vision.
The fluid accumulation in the body often results in swelling, blurry vision, and even an impact on the eye’s accommodation power.
3- Recurring signs of infection
While you might dismiss the recurring infection as possible signs of dehydration and the heat in the weather, the causes are much worse than that.
Diabetes impacts the immune system for the worse, enhancing the risks of a recurring infection. Some of the common types of infections include vaginal infection, yeast infection, bladder infections, skin infection, etc.
The spiked levels of blood sugar levels in the blood pose a difficulty for the white blood cells to travel (R) through, making it a lot more difficult for it to fight infection.
4- Infertility and sexual dysfunction
One of the most uncommon warning signs that the diabetics tend to not pay much attention to is the possibilities of erectile dysfunction. This is predominantly witnessed in men suffering from type-2 diabetes.
The main reason behind the sexual dysfunction that is noted in men is because of the degeneration of the nerves and the blood vessels because of the high blood sugar levels.
In the case of women, sexual dysfunction is often witnessed in the form of a lack of libido and the lack of lubrication. The only limitation to these reports is the lack of conclusive studies in women than men.
5- Sudden feelings of light-headedness
The condition of light-headedness can happen in several instances. While fatigue and hunger are two of the common signs of light-headedness, they are not the only cause behind it.
Diabetes is one of the most common causes of light-headedness. And, breaking the myth, light-headedness is not just a sign of low blood sugar.
Even people struggling with high blood sugar can experience signs of dizziness.
One of the main reasons behind this is because of frequent urination. The more you urinate, your body is more likely going to be dehydrated, leading to a possibility of light-headedness.
Dehydration directly impacts the brain functions, leading to signs of light-headedness. It can also alter your concentration and memory.
6- Weight loss
If you have someone in your house who is diabetic, or you have met someone who is diabetic, it is likely that you will come across learning that diabetics tend to lose weight.
The lack of insulin function makes it harder for your body to utilize blood sugar to convert to energy. Hence, the next thing that the body starts burning its fat and muscle mass.
This is one of the main reasons behind the sudden weight loss.
If you find a diabetic being excessively irritable, know for a fact that it is not something they are doing to spite you.
One of the most unknown symptoms of diabetes that not many are aware of is the mood swings and the changes in the emotions.
Unmanaged diabetes has been found to cause rapid shifts in one’s mood, so in case you have been experiencing sporadic episodes of mood swings and irritability, one of the best ways to combat that is by managing your blood glucose levels.
8- Constant itching
If you have been experiencing issues and complaints of itching in your body, it is one of the most unusual signs of diabetes. It is predominantly a sign of untreated diabetes and affects individuals more often than not.
Since diabetes has the tendency to cause damage to the nerve endings in the body, the same effect the skin texture too.
Any form of a blood vessel or nerve ending damage is considered to be one of the most common signs of undiagnosed diabetes. Often, the lack of proper blood circulation in the body because of diabetes can cause the skin to become dry, contributing to itching.
9- Constant ache in the limbs
One of the most common impacts of undiagnosed diabetes is diabetic neuropathy(R).
For those who are unaware, this is a condition that causes nerve damage when diabetes is undiagnosed or untreated. The constant impact of this leads to a dull ache in the limbs constantly.
Diabetics reported that they felt a constant ache in the limbs followed by a tingling and numbing sensation too.
10- Fruity smell in the breath
As unique as it sounds, this is a very commonly witnessed but neglected symptom of diabetes.
The condition is termed as diabetic ketoacidosis. It is caused when the fats in the body are broken down to form an acid compound known as ketones.
These are also the byproducts that are formed when someone consumes a low carb diet like the keto diet.
The majority of the excess ketones that are produced in the body are excreted out with the urine. One of the evident impacts that it leaves behind is a fruity-smelling breath, caused because of the process of ketone body formation. The breath smells like acetone or how a nail polish would smell.
If left undiagnosed and untreated, it can often lead to severe health complications in diabetics.
11- Nausea and vomiting
These are very rare symptoms and witnessed in a fraction of the diabetics. The constant discomfort and the feeling of nausea and vomiting is often paired with the lightheadedness.
If you have been feeling something like this persistently, it is necessary that you seek immediate medical help.
They happen because of diabetic neuropathy. Seek immediate medical advice, if needed.
Nerve damage can cause issues with GI tract functions. This can later lead to discomfort and possibly make you feel nauseous.
12- Dry mouth
Unregulated blood sugar levels in the body have direct impacts on the blood circulation and the salivary flow and secretion.
This can lead to the condition of dry mouth and make your mouth feel extremely parched at times.
Dry mouth is common with diabetes medication.
Dry mouth can often lead to further deteriorating oral conditions like gum disease and tooth decay in individuals.
13- Vaginal discomfort
In women, one of the unusual and early signs of diabetics could be vaginal itching and discomfort.
The condition of yeast infections in women can be a sign of diabetes.
Consult a doctor for a better diagnosis.
14- Delayed wound healing
Our body has a natural mechanism for wound healing. If your wound is taking longer than usual to heal, it is likely a sign of Type-2 diabetes.
The condition happens because of hyperglycemia or high blood sugar levels. The lack of proper oxygen supply causes a delay in wound healing.
The altered immune system is also a reason behind the loss of wound healing in diabetics.
15- Long daytime naps
Being diabetic will affect your energy levels in the body. There are no two ways about it.
In a conducted study(R), it was found that the individuals who had a daytime nap exceeding over an hour were at higher risks of developing Type-2 diabetes.
Longer daytime naps don’t necessarily mean that the individual is diabetic. It signifies that their risk factor for developing the condition is high.
The longer daytime napping is also a possible sign of sleep apnea, depression, or sleep deprivation. These have further grave impacts on causing diabetes.
16- Feeling hungry all the time
People suffering from diabetes have a hard time staying energized. It is especially because of the insulin resistance and the lack of sugar breakdown in the body.
Even when they have had a proper meal, it is common for them to feel hungry a few hours later. Glucose takes time to metabolise in diabetics.
This is one of the reasons why diabetics tend to feel hungry quite often.
Why is early diagnosis important for diabetes?
One of the most common issues with diabetes is the fact it is often undiagnosed.
It is thus important that one focuses on identifying any symptom that rolls around and not takes it for granted. If you have been witnessing any of the symptoms mentioned above, consult your family physician.
Early diagnosis helps administer the treatment early so the disease for better control and regulation.
Proper treatment, lifestyle changes along with properly regulate blood sugar levels can reverse the disease.
Lack of diagnosis and treatment can often lead to a number of health conditions. Some include heart diseases, stroke, kidney failure, eye disease, and loss of vision in extreme conditions.
Addressing the symptoms is a necessity. The faster you talk to your doctor, the faster the treatment starts. Make sure that you don’t take the symptoms for granted and get the help you need to get better.