Hidden Diabetes Signs. Time For A Check-Up?

diabetesDiabetes mellitus is a condition that's increasing worldwide. While Type 1 is an autoimmune condition you can't predict or prevent, type 2 usually relates to obesity. Many people recognise the normal symptoms. These include urinating more often, being thirsty, losing weight, and feeling tired. However, there are some hidden diabetes symptoms you may want to look out for too.

An increase in urinary tract infections

Many people know that passing urine more often is a sign of diabetes. Few realise diabetes may cause an increase in urinary tract infections. UTIs involve foul smelling urine, cloudiness, pain just above the pubic area, and painful urination. You're more likely to have a UTI as:

  • There is more sugar in your urine, which bacteria use to breed
  • Diabetes causes kidney damage, increasing your risk of a UTI
  • The areas of your kidneys that collect urine begin to die off due to the disease, making it easier for bacteria to gather

Although other conditions increase your risk of UTIs, it's important to think about whether diabetes is the cause. UTIs due to diabetes signal that your kidneys are suffering. The sooner you seek treatment, the easier it is to reduce damage.

Itching around your genitals

There are lots of conditions that cause itching around your genitals. However, there are specific reasons for this happening if you have diabetes.

The same blood sugar levels that allow UTI bacteria to thrive also cause itchy genitals. A key cause behind this is 'thrush,' which often affects women. It is uncommon in men.

Thrush is a condition that involves a fungus everyone carries in their bodies overgrowing. Known as candida, an overgrowth of this fungus may cause itching alone. Additionally, it can lead to a cottage-cheese like discharge in women. It can lead to difficulty pulling back the foreskin in men.

A sudden appearance of thrush for the first time is a warning sign of diabetes. Or, an increase in incidences or cases that are difficult to control is another sign. If you're male and you're experiencing thrush for the first time, you should always seek medical advice.

Coughs and colds lasting for longer

During the winter, coughs and colds are easy to ignore. For most people, coughs are a normal part of the flu season. However, if you're experiencing more this year, or they're lasting for longer, consider whether something is attacking your immune system.

Diabetes lowers your immunity. As such, you're more likely to encounter infections. While your immune system is low, viral illnesses and other infections have more chances to attack. If you are getting sick more often and are taking longer to recover, consider whether diabetes is the cause.

A family history of autoimmune disease

If your first-degree relatives have an autoimmune disease, you have a higher risk of developing Type 1 diabetes. While this isn't a 'sign' as such, it is an indication to look out for when you're experiencing diabetes symptoms.

Examples of autoimmune diseases include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Psoriasis
  • Systemic lupus
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Some thyroid diseases

diabetes signs

If you do experience the symptoms of diabetes, consider your family's medical background. When visiting a doctor for a diagnosis, be sure to mention any history of autoimmune diseases to them.

In many cases, doctors don't discover Type 2 Diabetes until it starts to affect the body. For example, opticians often refer patients for a diagnosis when they spot eye organ damage. When this happens, the patient may be ten years into their condition.

Knowing more about the hidden signs, as well as those that are common, should prompt you to seek medical advice. Getting a diagnosis early helps you improve your quality of life. Also, it reduces the chances of severe damage.  If you do have diabetes or any other medical condition, consider wearing a medical ID alert device / medical alert bracelet.

If you liked this blog post, be sure to read Mediband's post on understanding diabetes & how diabetes wristbands can help to keep you safe.

References:

https://www.diabetes.co.uk/symptoms/genital-itching.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11049905

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3005485/

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