You are probably already familiar with the most common symptoms of type2 diabetes – frequent urination, unquenchable thirst, and hand and feet numbness, but did you know that there are other signs that can tell you that something’s wrong with your blood sugar?
Here are 5 signs of diabetes that you might not be familiar with:
1. SUDDEN VISION IMPROVEMENT
It might seem like a wonderful gift, but sudden vision improvements aren’t always a good sign. Dr. Howard Baum, assistant professor at the Vanderbilt University’s diabetes department says that “You’ll often find information that blurred vision is as a diabetes symptom when, in fact, your vision can change for better or worse. I’ve had patients who told me that their vision improved when their blood sugar levels were high, and after they started their diabetes treatment they needed their glasses again.” How is this possible? Well, diabetes can cause your body fluids (including the ones in your eyes) to shift around and give you improved vision.
- 2. YOU HAVE HEARING PROBLEMS
If you notice that you can’t keep track of what people are saying or that you need to turn up the volume of your TV, you might need to get your blood tested. A study from the National Institute of Health found that hearing impairment can possible be an early symptom of diabetes, as people with high blood sugar levels who still couldn’t be diagnosed with diabetes had a 30% higher risk of hearing impairment than people with regular glucose levels. This is due to the diabetes damaging nerves and blood vessels in the inner ear.
- 3. YOU HAVE SKIN CHANGES
Diabetes can cause skin changes in the form of darkened, velvety skin patches that commonly appear on your knuckles, elbows or the back of your neck. The condition is called acanthosis nigricanis, and even though it is a genetic and hormonal related condition, it can also be an early sign of diabetes. Dr. Sanjiv Saini, an Edgewater dermatologist, says that “When I notice the patches, the first thing I do next is to test my patient’s blood sugar. High levels of insulin stimulate skin cell growth, and the melanin pigment leads to the patches becoming darker in color”. A blood sugar test can show whether the patient has diabetes or, more commonly, detect abnormal blood sugar levels, which prove that the patient has a risk of developing diabetes, says Dr. Sainini. The best countermeasures would be to lose some weight (10 pounds) to lower the blood sugar, apply topical retina A, or go through laser therapy.
- 4. YOU’VE STARTED SNORING HEAVILY
Osama Hamdy, the director of inpatient diabetes management of the Boston’s Joslin Diabetes Center, says that “Around half of type2 diabetes patients have sleep breathing disorders. That’s why it is highly recommended that you have a blood sugar test if you notice that you snore very loudly or that you feel sleepy during the day.
Furthermore, a study from Canada, found that 23% of patients suffering from mild-moderate obstructive sleep apnea had developed diabetes within the next 5 ½ years. The connection between these two diseases is yet to be entirely understood, but there is one link that is already proven: People who suffer from sleep breathing disorders have higher stress levels during their sleep, which consequently raise the blood sugar levels.
5. YOU HAVE CHRONIC ITCHES
If you notice that you feel constantly itchy, you should go see your doctor as diabetes is known to inhibit the blood flow and lead to itchiness and dryness. “Some of my patients who were recentlydiagnosed with diabetes say that they have itches on their extremities—the feet, lower legs and hands, —soitches are something doctors should keep in mind in conjunction with other symptoms,” says Dr. Baum. If you regularly use moisturizers to no avail, make sure that you tell your doctor during your next visit.