Type 2 diabetes is a condition which causes the body to lose control of the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The body doesn’t respond to insulin – a hormone which controls blood sugar levels – properly, leading to blood sugar levels becoming too high. if the condition is left untreated, serious complications can occur, including kidney failure, nerve damage, heart disease and stroke.
- Type 2 diabetes symptoms: Unintentional loss of this could be a sign
Complications can be prevented by recognising the symptoms of type 2 diabetes, and the earlier you spot signs, the better.
While most people don’t experience symptoms in the early stages, and may not have symptoms for many years, a possible early sign may appear on a person’s elbows.
Darkened skin on the elbows can be linked to a condition known as acanthosis nigricans.
Acanthosis nigricans is characterised by areas of dark, velvety discolouration in body folds and creases, such as the elbows. The affected skin can also become thickened.
Mayo Clinic explains: “The skin changes of acanthosis nigricans typically occur in people who are obese or have diabetes.
“Children who develop the condition are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
“Rarely, acanthosis nigricans can be a warning sign of a cancerous tumour in an internal organ, such as the stomach or liver.”
The skin changes which occur with acanthosis nigricans usually appear slowly.
The affected skin may also have an odour or an itch.
Most often, acanthosis nigricans affects the armpits, groin and neck.
Other symptoms of type 2 diabetes
Other symptoms of the condition are listed by the NHS. They include:
- 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: How often you go to the toilet may be a sign
What causes type 2 diabetes?
People are more at risk of developing the condition if they are:
- 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)
What can you do to prevent type 2 diabetes?
A healthy diet and keeping active can help a person manage their blood sugar levels.
When it comes to food, the NHS advises: “There’s nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you’ll have to limit certain foods.
“You should eat a wide range of foods – including fruit, vegetables and some starchy foods like pasta, keep sugar, fat and salt to a minimum, and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day – do not skip meals.”
When it comes to exercise, the health body says: “Physical exercise helps lower your blood sugar level. You should aim for 2.5 hours of activity a week.
“You can be active anywhere as long as what you’re doing gets you out of breath. This could be fast walking, climbing stairs, and doing more strenuous housework or gardening.”
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