BY: DANIEL PETERSON
Most individuals who develop type-2 diabetes lack a clue they are sick until a blood test indicates abnormal blood sugar levels, or until their disease advances and serious complications begin to appear. “For the most occasions, diabetes is insidious and silent,” says Ronald Tamler, MD — Mount Sinai Clinical Diabetes Institute’s director.
However, in some cases, there are sneaky signs. Some of the early diabetes symptoms are clearly known: excessive urination, constant thirst, or sudden weight loss or gain. Others, like those below, are easily missed out by patients and medical professionals alike. If you ever experience any of these, always share them with your doctor.
- Infected or Inflamed gums
Periodontitis—commonly known as gum disease, may be an early indication of type 2 diabetes, as per a new study published in the BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care Journal. The study found that the link between diabetes and gum disease is not new, says Dr. Tamler, and it seems to go both ways: “Inflammation caused by the gum disease eggs is also responsible for the high blood sugar which causes diabetes,” he says.
- Skin discoloration
“Long before you get diabetes, you might notice a dark discoloration on the back side of your neck,” shares Dr. Tamler. This’s called acanthosis nigricans, and it is usually an indication of insulin resistance (loss of sensitivity to the hormone which the body uses in regulating glucose)—that can ultimately lead to full-blown diabetes.
However, this isn’t the only health problem that exhibits skin discoloration as its’ symptom.
- Unusual sensations in your feet
About 10%-20% of individuals who are diagnosed with diabetes usually already have some nerve damage associated with the disease. In the initial stages, this may be partially noticeable, says Dr. Tamler: “You may feel unusual, electric tingling in your feet, or even have decreased balance or decreased sensation.”
These strange feelings could also be caused by various factors—so it’s advisable to point them to your doctor.
- Vision or Hearing loss
High blood sugar levels can destroy your retinas and cause the fluid levels around the eyeballs to fluctuate, rendering you with impaired or blurry vision. When blood sugar level return to normal, the eyesight is usually restored, but if diabetes goes uncontrolled for too long, the damage can become permanent.
Likewise, high blood sugar can affect an ear’s nerve cells as well and cause impaired hearing.
- Long naps.
A European Association’s scientific review found that individuals who took daytime naps for more than one hour were 45% more likely to have Type-2 diabetes compared to people who napped less, or not at all.
They found snoozing during the daytime could be a warning sign of a problem like sleep deprivation, sleep apnea, or depression, all of which are conditions linked to an increased risk of diabetes.
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