Most people with diabetes would agree that they never expected to get such a disease. That’s a common theme in chronic diseases, because the symptoms build up over time, we often don’t even recognize them.
But diabetes is not just any chronic disease. It forces you to change your diet, it can cause blindness, loss of limb, and worse. There are so many shocking images and stories on the Internet about this autoimmune condition.
However, if you’re aware of the sneaky signs diabetes can present you with and have all of the information you need, this disease won’t catch you off-guard, and you will be able to do something about it before it’s too late.
Today we will show seven early signs of diabetes people usually miss.
1. Dark Patches of Skin on Your Neck or Knuckles
The first sneaky sign of diabetes is called acanthosis nigricans, and it is no more than dark patches on the sides of your neck, in skin folds and creases. It is one of the earliest signs of diabetes, and it appears even before the onset of “true diabetes”. In fact, it is a warning sign of insulin resistance, which is a reversible step towards the actual metabolic disease.
Check the skin of your knuckles, as well.
According to a study published in Dermato-Endocrinology, acanthosis nigricans in the knuckles is “an easy, accessible, and costless diagnostic tool suggesting hyperinsulinemia secondary to IR [insulin resistance], and, an early marker of IR even in the absence of overweight or obesity.”
2. Slow Wound/Bruise Healing
Another sign people won’t notice at first is slower wound and bruise healing. This sign is a little tricky to note as it requires an actual cut, bruise, or lesion to appear. While some of us may be a bit clumsy or have a physically demanding job, many of us may not receive a superficial injury for months, thereby completely missing these critical symptoms.
Slow wound and bruise healing happens because high blood sugar starts to impair your circulation, which is a fundamental step towards normal healing.
3. Frequent Yeast Infections
Another critical early sign of diabetes that can be easily overlooked is vaginal or oral yeast infections. Be attentive because, as common as they can be among women, their incidence is increased in people with high blood sugar.
Yeast cells obtain energy from the excess sugar in the blood, and this excess sugar also affects the healthy response of your immune system. So, if you have recurrent vaginal thrush, keep in mind to have your doctor check your glucose levels when you get a full check-up.
Fellas, this can happen to you, too. Yeast infections can occur in the groin area, feet, or mouth in men. If you’re experiencing this, don’t be too shy to talk to your doctor about it. It just may save your life!
4. Unintentional Weight Loss
It might seem a positive aspect of diabetes, and maybe that’s why people won’t notice it at first, but unbalanced blood sugar usually causes unintentional weight loss. If you’re experiencing unplanned weight loss, it might be a sign that your insulin levels are starting to drop.
When they do, there’s not enough insulin to facilitate the entry of glucose into your cells, and you will start burning fat instead. Again, this is not good news because it shows that your metabolism is changing.
Always see a doctor if you experience unintentional weight loss, as it could be a sign of developing diabetes, cancer, or other critical diseases.
5. “Burning” Skin
Extra sugar in the blood causes damage to the nerve and nerve-endings. This is clinically called diabetic neuropathy, and you can feel it as a burning sensation in your hands and feet, maybe as tingling or numbness in your fingers, and similar symptoms. This usually happens early in the morning, and it’s a sign that sugar levels are not under control.
6. Sudden Voracious Appetite
People with diabetes, even before they are properly diagnosed, often have a voracious appetite. Since there’s not enough circulating insulin to facilitate the entry of glucose inside the cells, your body is tricked into thinking you are slowly starving to death. Thus, hunger sensation is triggered to make you look for energy sources, even if you’ve just eaten.
What your body doesn’t realize is that you already have too much glucose accumulated in your blood, which can be very dangerous to your health.
7. Mood Swings
Last but not least, diabetes usually causes sudden mood swings. They typically respond to fluctuations in sugar levels, and these mood swings may have a sudden and terrible effect on your relationships.
According to a study published in Patient Education and Counseling:
“Type 2 diabetes mellitus has been usually linked to increased prevalence and risk of depression and anxiety, which can affect blood glucose levels. Through education, the mood of newly diagnosed patients with diabetes improved, resulting in better blood glucose control.”
In other words, proper diagnosis, education, and a clear-cut treatment plan can significantly reduce anxious and depressive episodes in individuals with diabetes.
As you can see, some of these very early signs of diabetes can be detected even before diabetes and insulin problems have started. Others are sneaky enough to remain undetected, even if you already have low insulin levels.
Regardless, if you have come to recognize these signs in yourself, pay close attention and schedule a check-up. You might be able to prevent a full onset of diabetes, and, even if you actually have the disease, it will be easier to control once you receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
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