Diabetes type 2: Dr Zoe Williams discusses high blood sugar risks
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The progressive disorder is defined by “deficits in insulin secretion” and “abnormal” blood sugar levels, which is “preceded by a state of pre-diabetes”. What are the signs of type 2 diabetes? “Acanthosis nigricans” has been confirmed as one visible warning sign of the condition. The Primary Care Dermatology Society described acanthosis nigricans (AN) as “hyperpigmentation” characterised by “a velvety thickening of the skin”.
This skin condition mostly appears:
- On the neck
- Groin area
This physical representation of type 2 diabetes is more common in “patients with pigmented [i.e. darker] skin”.
The darkened, velvety lesions “may completely regress with weight reduction”.
So, while they can be strong indicators of type 2 diabetes, if the condition is well managed, it is possible for the marks to disappear.
The BMJ added other manifestations of type 2 diabetes, which may include “unintentional weight loss”.
This is more likely if high blood sugar levels are “more severe” – so, if you’ve been losing weight without trying to, it might be diabetes.
Other symptoms may include:
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger
- Excessive thirst
- Blurred vision
Paraesthesias is the scientific term given to the sensation of “pins and needles”, clarified the NHS.
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Another warning sign of type 2 diabetes is “nocturia”, which is when you frequently wake up during the night to pass urine.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust said that “it is common with elderly people”.
But, more than two bathroom trips during the night is indicative of a “problem”, such as diabetes.
“High blood sugar increases your thirst, so you may drink more than usual and this leads to the frequent need to go to the toilet,” the NHS Trust explained.
“High blood sugar levels also irritate the bladder causing you to pass urine more frequently.”
People with type 2 diabetes might also experience more frequent “skin infections”, said the BMJ.
An example is the overgrowth of Candida yeast that leads to symptoms of thrush.
For women, symptoms of thrush include:
- White vaginal discharge (often like cottage cheese), which does not usually smell
- Itching and irritation around the vagina
- Soreness and stinging during sex or when you pee
In men, symptoms of thrush include:
Irritation, burning and redness around the head of the penis and under the foreskin
- A white discharge (like cottage cheese)
- An unpleasant smell
- Difficulty pulling back the foreskin
“Type 2 diabetes is most often diagnosed on routine screening,” said the BMJ.
This is because the symptoms might come on so gradually, you hardly notice that you’re feeling more thirsty than a few years ago, for example.
Blood tests can determine whether or not you have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
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