According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report 2020, 34.2 million Americans or 10.5% of the total population have diabetes. Moreover, 1 out of 3 adults or 88 million has prediabetes. It is the 7th leading cause of death until now. This should be alarming, especially if you are an adult.
Diabetes is a condition wherein there is an insufficient insulin or improper use of insulin by the body, leading to increased glucose levels in the blood. It can lead to many complications that can gravely affect the quality of life of anyone who will develop the disease. Among the complications of diabetes are cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, eye damage, foot damage, skin conditions, hearing impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Early diabetes symptoms differ for each individual. Some may experience the usual symptoms such as increased thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, and slow healing sores. In contrast, other diabetics may have to go through the following unusual symptoms:
Neck Is Darker than Other Areas of the Body
When there are high levels of insulin in the bloodstream, it can cause skin cells to reproduce faster than they normally do. This results in a condition called acanthosis nigricans. In this condition, the neck becomes darker or with dark patches that may be widespread or minimal which could only be noticeable in the creases of the skin. The skin can also feel thicker and velvety. This is more common in an individual with a darker skin complexion.
Vision changes may not always mean you have a particular problem with the components of your eyes, but they can be caused by diabetes. High glucose levels in your blood can alter fluid levels in the eyes that can lead to swelling, difficulty focusing on objects, and blurriness of vision. This could also be a cause of other conditions so make sure that you get checked immediately.
Lightheadedness does not always mean that you are hungry, intoxicated, or heavily fatigued. It can also be a warning sign of diabetes. With diabetes, there is frequent urination because of the increased glucose level in your bloodstream. Frequent urination can dehydrate you, which can make you feel lightheaded.
Men with diabetes are more predisposed to erectile dysfunction. This is because increased blood sugar can damage nerves and small blood vessels carrying blood to the penis. In women, diabetes can also impede arousal and lubrication which makes the sexual act painful.
In undiagnosed diabetes, the shift of blood glucose can lead to irritability or moodiness. Whether blood sugar goes below or above the normal glucose level, a change of mood can happen. This can be temporary. The mood improves when the glucose level in the blood stabilizes.
When there is insufficient production of insulin by the pancreas or there is an inefficient use of insulin, glucose will not be able to nourish individual cells of the body. This can lead to the burning of fats and even muscle tissue to provide energy for the whole body. This will lead to reduced body mass and weight.
Having undiagnosed diabetes will let you wonder why you experience itching in your extremities even after taking a bath. If you have itching in your arms and feet, this can be due to increased glucose levels. Increased blood sugar can damage nerves and blood vessels that supply the limbs. The skin of your limbs can begin to dry, peel, and itch.
When cells cannot be provided with the glucose that they need, fats are used up by the body in return for energy. The process is called ketosis which produces acids called ketones. When ketones are left in the bloodstream, they are excreted from the body through urination. When ketosis is undergoing, a fruit-smelling breath that resembles that of nail polish can be produced.
Other unusual symptoms are vaginal,yeast, bladder, and skin infections. You may also feel pain in the limbs, nausea, and dry mouth. You may not need to have all these symptoms before you go to a doctor for consultation. You can have only a combination of these symptoms. You should not delay seeing a doctor because some symptoms can indicate urgency, like having a fruit-smelling breath. It can mean ketoacidosis which is a severe complication of diabetes.
Being a chronic, progressive illness, diabetes should be properly managed so its progress will be delayed. Learning how to recognize the many unusual symptoms of diabetes can be of great help. Many diabetics were able to live a quality life and you can be one of them. You should.