Type 2 diabetes is a common condition but many people have it without realising. Symptoms can affect different parts of the body, but because they don’t make a person feel unwell, they can be difficult to identify. Some of the main symptoms are peeing more than usual, particularly at night, feeling thirsty all the time, and feeling very tired.
- Type 2 diabetes symptoms: Sign on the skin that could signal condition
Recognising symptoms of the condition can help avoid complications such as kidney failure, nerve damage and heart disease, which is why it’s also important to recognise lesser known signs too.
Skin care is an important factor for people with diabetes, according to Diabetes.co.uk – skin condition conditions can be more likely amongst diabetics, and reduced sensitivity of nerves and circulation can often make it harder to spot emerging skin problems.
The diabetes advice site explains: “People with diabetes may experience greater loss of fluid from the body due to high blood glucose levels, which can cause dry skin on the legs, elbows, feet and other areas of the body.
“If dry skin becomes cracked, germs can get into these areas and cause infection, meaning that taking care of the skin is essential.
“If not checked regularly, even minor skin care problems can evolve into serious diabetes complications, such as diabetic foot ulcers and even amputation.
“Keeping the skin, particularly of your feet, in good condition should be a priority for people with diabetes.”
Dry and cracked skin is one of the signs of diabetes to look out for.
Another two are diabetic dermopathy and acanthosis nigricans.
Diabetic dermopathy is another common skin problem for people with diabetes.
Diabetes.co.uk says: “Sometimes known as shin spots, this condition leaves round, raised lesions that can turn into ulcers.”
The site adds: “Acanthosis Nigricans, more common amongst Hispanic people and African Americans, causes brown and black lesions under the skin.”
Other symptoms of type 2 diabetes to recognise
The main symptoms are listed by the NHS as:
- Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision
- Type 2 diabetes symptoms: Your elbow could hold an early sign
Knowing whether you’re at risk of developing type 2 diabetes is also important.
The NHS says you’re at risk if you:
- Are over 40 (or 25 for south Asian people)
- Have a close relative with diabetes (such as a parent, brother or sister)
- Are overweight or obese
- Are of south Asian, Chinese, African Caribbean or black African origin (even if you were born in the UK)
How to prevent and control type 2 diabetes
Simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference for people with or at risk of the condition.
One change to make is to eat a healthy balanced diet.
Diabetes UK explains: “There is no such thing as a special diet exclusively for people with type 2 diabetes. No two people with diabetes are the same. So there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way of eating for everyone with diabetes.
“In the past, people with type 2 diabetes were sent away after their diagnosis with a list of foods they weren’t allowed to eat, or often told to cut out sugar. But our advice is to make healthier choices more often, and only have treats occasionally and in small portions.”
Regular exercise and losing weight if you’re overweight can also help control type 2 diabetes.
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