What is diabetes and what are some of the signs and symptoms to look out for? Here’s everything you need to know when looking out for the sometimes-deadly disease
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The number of diabetes cases are on the rise across the UK and many don’t know they have it.
But there are some simple ways you can spot the signs of the disease — this includes looking at your nails.
If you notice the signs and symptoms of diabetes, you should contact your GP.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO): “The number of people with diabetes rose from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. Prevalence has been rising more rapidly in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.”
WHO said that an estimated 1.5 million deaths were caused by diabetes directly in 2019 alone. It is, then, a serious disease that should not be taken lightly.
So what are the signs to look out for?
Signs of diabetes
Healthy nails are pink and flat. Discolouring may be an indication of diabetes, as might a horizontal line across your nails.
Yellow nails can be a sign of diabetes as it increases the likelihood of fungus growing there. This is called onychomycosis.
Heathline explained: “People with diabetes are more likely than those without diabetes to get a fungal infection called onychomycosis. This infection usually affects the toenails. The nails will turn yellow and become brittle.”
Elizabeth Salada, from Diabetes UK, said: “Lots of common diseases can present themselves through the appearance of your nails, and a slight blush at the bottom of the nail can be a symptom of diabetes.”
“You always want to be aware of any changes of shape in the nail, thickness, consistency looking at the surface, the colour of the nail, whether the nail is separated from the nail bed.”
The Mayo Clinic gave a full rundown of possible symptoms of type one and type two diabetes.
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Extreme hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there’s not enough available insulin)
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing sores
- Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic illness that is caused by the pancreas not producing enough insulin or when the body is unable to properly use the insulin it does produce.
This means many of the body’s systems can be damaged by abnormal levels of blood sugar.
Type one diabetes is less common but is not linked to age or being overweight and requires daily injections of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.
Type two diabetes is linked to being overweight or inactive and can have serious ramifications for your health.
It can lead to nerve damage, heart disease, strokes, kidney problems and blindness.