Diabetes: six unusual symptoms of diabetes you might not know – how to spot them
Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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Diabetes affects more than 4.9 million people in the UK alone, with type 2 being the most commonly diagnosed. While type 1 cannot be prevented, type 2 diabetes can be developed over time if a person’s blood sugar levels are consistently high. The most common symptoms of diabetes are linked to increased thirst, hunger and urination – but what are the more unusual signs that you are living with this autoimmune disease? Express.co.uk reveals six signs you should look for.
Itchy, dry skin
When blood sugar levels are not controlled, excess glucose in the blood can cause damage to nerve fibres throughout the body.
While this type of internal damage is not exclusive to one part of the body, medically accredited website Healthline claims that it most typically occurs in the hands and feet.
Nerve damage can cause itching on the surface of the skin while damaged blood vessels could be to blame for dry, itchy or peeling skin.
According to Age UK, more than 40 percent of men aged 60 and over will experience Erectile dysfunction in their lifetime, though the cause may vary.
While everything from a loss of sexual desire to certain medications are the most common triggers of erectile dysfunction, high blood sugar could also be the root of the problem.
As glucose levels build up, sugars stay in the bloodstream rather than going into the body’s cells due to a lack of insulin. This is known as type 1 diabetes.
Healthline said: “Sexual problems occur when high blood sugar damages nerves and the blood vessels that carry blood to the penis.
“Sexual dysfunction can also occur in women, resulting in low arousal and poor lubrication, however, research on sexual issues related to diabetes in women is less conclusive than men.”
A dry mouth can happen for a number of reasons, and high blood sugar is just one of them
When the body’s glucose supply is concentrated in the blood, the mouth produces less saliva.
Too little saliva in the mouth is not only an unpleasant feeling, but it could also trigger tooth decay and gum disease, according to Healthline.
Unfortunately, this strange symptom can still prevail after a diabetes diagnosis and is a known side effect of some medications used to treat this autoimmune disease.
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One lesser-known warning sign of type 2 diabetes can be spotted on the neck and is most common in people with darker complexions.
The development of dark patches on the skin can be widespread or only visible in the creases.
Known as acanthosis nigricans, this unusual condition can leave a thick, velvety feeling around the neck and has been known to affect the groin and armpits too.
While type 2 diabetes is commonly associated with obesity and carrying excess weight, losing inches from your waistband could be a sign of type 1 diabetes.
This can happen when the body can’t produce insulin properly, leaving cells running low on glucose which is normally used for energy.
As a result, the body starts burning fat and muscle mass instead to fuel the body, triggering a sudden drop in your overall body weight.
Frequent mood swings
Mood can be affected by a number of internal and external factors, but did you know that diabetes is a possible cause?
Constantly feeling irritated or having noticeable mood changes could be caused by rapid shifts in your blood sugar levels.
When glucose levels spike and dip, it is not uncommon to feel short-tempered while your levels work their way back to a stable level.
The NHS states that there is a clear link between diabetes and mental health, something which has also been acknowledged by Diabetes UK.
NHS England said: “Diabetes can affect all aspects of someone’s life and we know that people with diabetes experience disproportionately high rates of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders.”
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