According to a report (R) released by 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 the 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 characterise 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), it is characterised 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 a change in the texture of their skin of their neck, feeling thicker.
This is predominantly noticed in the 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 affects 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 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 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 light-headedness, they are not the only cause behind it.
Diabetes is one of the most common causes behind 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 the 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 utilise the blood sugar to convert to energy. Hence, the next thing that the body starts burning is the 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 affects the skin texture too.
Any form of 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 the 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 the diabetes is undiagnosed or untreated. The constant impact of this leads to a dull ache in the limbs constantly.
Diabetics who have experienced this condition 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 which is caused when the fats in the body are broken down to form acid compound known as ketones.
These are also the byproducts that are formed when someone consumes a low carb diet like the keto diet.
Majority of the excess ketones that are produced in the body are excreted out with the urine but one of the evident impacts that it leaves behind is a fruit smelling breath, which is mainly caused because of the process of ketone body formation. The breath smells like acetone or how a nail polish would smell.
While the condition can be unregulated, if left undiagnosed and untreated, it can often lead to severe health complications in diabetics.
11- Nausea and vomitting
These are very rare symptoms and witnessed in a fraction of the diabetics. In this condition, the constant discomfort and the feeling of nausea and vomitting is often paired with the lightheadedness.
If you have been feeling something like this persistently, it is necessary that you seek immediate medical help to curb the impacts further.
Both the conditions happen because of diabetic neuropathy, which is one of the primary reasons why it is important that you seek medical help immediately.
Because of the neuropathy or the nerve damage, the same has direct impacts on the movement of the food through the GI tract, leading to an interruption. This can later lead to discomfort and possible 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.
Aside from the constant dryness and the cracks around the skin of the mouth, you might also experience dry mouth with the 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.
Since the body is more susceptible to infections, the condition of yeast infections in women can be a sign of diabetes.
If the condition is frequently recurrent, it is always best to consult a doctor and get the symptoms diagnosed.
14- Delayed wound healing
Our body has its natural mechanism for wound healing. If that is not working out for you and your wound is taking longer than usual to heal, it is likely a sign of Type-2 diabetes.
The condition is caused because of hyperglycemia or high blood sugar levels. Since it obstructs the oxygen flow in the body, the same affects the amount of oxygen reaching the wound, thus delaying the healing process.
The altered immune system is also a reason behind the delayed wound healing in diabetics.
15- Long daytime naps
Being diabetic will affect your energy levels in the body. There is no two ways about it.
In a conducted study(R), it was found that the individuals who had a daytime nap exceeding over a hour were at higher risks of developing Type-2 diabetes. The same was done in comparison to the ones who took shorter naps.
But, the study authors have clarified that the longer daytime naps don’t necessarily mean that the individual is diabetic but that their risk factor of developing the condition is high.
The longer daytime napping is also a possible sign of sleep apnea, depression or sleep deprivation, all of which have further grave impacts on causing diabetes.
16- Feeling hungry all the time
People suffering from diabetes have a hard time staying energised, especially because of the insulin resistance and the lack of sugar breakdown in the body.
So, even when they have had a proper meal, it is common for them to feel hungry a few hours later. While in normal cases, the glucose molecules are utilised by the cells in the body, the same doesn’t happen when it comes to 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.
What this does is let the disease progress and get worse in the body without the person realising.
It is thus important that one focus on identifying any symptom that rolls around and not take it for granted. If you have been witnessing any of the symptoms as mentioned above, consult your family physician.
Early diagnosis helps administer the treatment early so the disease is controlled and regulated better.
Proper treatment, lifestyle changes along with properly regulate blood sugar levels can reverse the disease for you instead of making it a progressive one for you.
Lack of diagnosis and treatment can often lead to a number of health conditions including 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. This is a necessity that you just can’t brush aside, so make sure that you don’t take the symptoms for granted and get the help you need to get better.