Diabetes is a growing concern in India. The World Health Organization indicates that 8.7 percent of the population between age 20 and 70 has diabetes. Many people are familiar with the telltale signs of high blood sugar, such as increased urination, excessive thirst or unexplained weight loss; these changes often prompt us to get our levels checked and begin managing high blood sugar.
However, there are many subtle signs of high blood sugar that often go missed or ignored, especially because they develop gradually and usually don't cause major problems. If you recognise the hints your body is giving you, you can help your doctor diagnose you with diabetes early, and you might be able to stem the damage that high blood sugar can eventually cause.
So pay attention to these hidden signs of high blood sugar.
1. Thickening and darkening of skin
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, thickening and darkening of the skin — what's known medically as acanthosis nigricans — is a common manifestation of diabetes. The condition affects the neck, armpits, elbows, hands and groin, and it can cause grey to dark brown discolouration and a thick, velvety skin. If you've noticed such changes, it's time to get yourself checked.
2. Frequent infections
The Mayo Clinic notes that people with undiagnosed diabetes often experience frequent infections, such as urinary tract infections, vaginal fungal infections, oral fungal infections such as thrush, and skin and respiratory infections. Getting your blood sugar checked regularly will help you diagnose the likely causes of these recurring infections.
3. Mood swings
High and low blood sugar can cause significant mood shifts, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Those mood swings can also be accompanied by certain physical changes. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can cause sweating and a racing heart or jitters; hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) can cause sluggishness, nervousness and clumsiness. If you've noticed your frequent mood changes accompanied by these physical signs, it's probably a good time to book an appointment with your doctor.
4. Exhaustion and sluggishness
People with diabetes are unable to properly utilise sugar or glucose to fulfill their energy needs, so they often feel tired or sluggish. Excessive urination due to diabetes can cause dehydration, further enhancing one's weariness. If you have been feeling tired all the time despite keeping regular hours of sleep, perhaps it's time to get your physicals done.
5. Pins-and-needles sensations in the hands and feet
Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage the nerves in various parts of the body, especially the hands and feet. This can lead to tingling sensations, loss of feeling, or sometimes even a burning sensation in your hands, arms, feet or legs.
If you experience any of these hidden signs of high blood sugar, your body may be trying to tell you to get your blood sugar levels checked immediately. The sooner you detect diabetes, the quicker you can learn to manage it — and the sooner you can reclaim your life.
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