Diabetes can be a difficult condition to live with as it can require daily treatment and regular monitoring.
Recent figures shared by Diabetes UK suggest there could be over 5 million people suffering from the condition. Diagnoses have soared from 3.6 million to 4.3 million since 2015 and the charity believes there may be at least 850,000 undiagnosed diabetics on top of that.
With this in mind, it’s now more important than ever to be able to spot the subtle signs and symptoms of the condition, which can in some cases be reversible in early stages.
As reported by the Mirror, charity CEO Chris Askew said: “These figures show we’re in the grip of a rapidly escalating crisis.
“Spiralling numbers of people are now living with Type 2 diabetes and millions are at high risk of developing the condition. The fear of serious complications is a life-long reality for millions of people across the UK.”
What is diabetes?
- Type one is when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin.
- Type two is the most common – it’s when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body’s cells fail to react to insulin. This one is considered the easier to manage of the two.
It’s a serious condition which increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, narrowing of blood vessels and nerve damage.
Mr Askew added: “With the right care and support, cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or put into remission.”
Key symptoms of diabetes
The NHS says you should visit your GP if you experience any of the following symptoms of diabetes
- Going to the toilet more often, particularly at night
- Feeling more tired, as your body can’t get enough glucose into your cells for energy
- Losing weight without trying
- Genital itching or thrush
- Cuts and wounds take longer to heal
- Blurred vision
- Feeling very thirsty
You may be diagnosed with a condition known as pre-diabetes. Despite its name, being pre-diabetic is still a serious health condition.
It’s where a person’s blood sugar levels are high, but not yet high enough to class the person as having diabetes. It is a real warning sign that thankfully can be reversed.
There are five types of rash that occur in those with diabetes:
- Bullosis diabeticorum – This condition that may form on the backs of hands and feet often affects people with diabetic neuropathy – a condition where the nerves are damaged through diabetes.
- Diabetes dermopathy – This is where the shins become covered in light-brown patches of scaly skin. They can often look like age spots and don’t require any treatment.
- Digital sclerosis – This is a type of rash that appears if you have type 1 diabetes. It causes the skin to harden up and turn waxy on the back of the hands.
- Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum (NLD) – This is a lower leg rash that’s more often found in women. It can cause red, raised, and shiny patches of skin, with a yellow centre.
- Diabetes Foot Syndrome – This is where ulcers develop following trauma to the skin. The ulcers can take a long time to heal and can become infected.
If you are diabetic, or pre-diabetic, there are a number of ways to manage the condition and maintain healthy blood-sugar levels.
- Keep calm – Stress can cause blood sugar levels to rise, so relaxing is important.
- Be in the know – Continuous glucose monitoring is important to manage diabetes. It can help you react more quickly to whether it is high or low.
- Drink in moderation – Drinking alcohol can produce signs of low blood sugar
- Improve oral hygiene – Diabetes puts you at greater risk for gum disease as people with the condition have a lowered ability to fight infection from bacteria in the mouth
- Sweeten it yourself – Reduce sugar in your diet by adding your own sweeteners
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