Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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Taking a look under the armpits, are there any areas of darkened skin? If so, it could be an early indicator of type 2 diabetes. This is because of a condition called acanthosis nigricans. Diabetes UK – a leading charity – confirmed that “acanthosis nigricans is a relatively common skin condition that is one of the symptoms of diabetes”. The “distinctive” darkened areas appear around the folds of skin in the armpits, neck, groin, and joints on the fingers or toes.
“As well being darker, the skin may take on a leathery or velvety feel and the skin may itch or smell,” the charity added.
Acanthosis nigricans is also associated with other health conditions, such as:
- Underactive thyroid function
- If taking corticosteroids or oral contraceptives
- A tumour affecting an internal organ.
- There are other symptoms of diabetes to look out for, which can include:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger
- Unintended weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing sores
- Frequent infections
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.
The Mayo Clinic added that type 2 diabetes is primarily the result of two interrelated issues.
Firstly, the cells in the muscles, fat and liver become resistant to insulin, meaning they don’t take in sugar (i.e.) glucose.
Secondly, the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to manage blood sugar levels.
The bodily impairment of its use of glucose can lead to disorders of the circulatory, nervous, and immune systems. In order to mitigate the health risks associated with type 2 diabetes, an early diagnosis is paramount.
If you suspect you might be suffering from symptoms of diabetes, book an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
Once you speak to a doctor, you can discuss your concerns and a blood test for blood sugar levels can be arranged.
How insulin works
Insulin is a hormone that is secreted from the pancreas. Its role is to regulate how the body processes sugar in numerous ways.
For example, sugar in the bloodstream triggers the pancreas to secrete insulin that then circulates in the bloodstream.
Insulin in the bloodstream is meant to enable sugar to enter the cells, thereby reducing the amount of sugar in the blood.
In response to the drop in blood sugar levels, the pancreas releases less insulin.
For those with diabetes, however, blood sugar keeps on rising as it is unable to enter the cells.
As a response, the pancreas will continuously secrete insulin, even though the hormone isn’t working.
The pancreas can then tire, until it no longer releases insulin at all, which is why some diabetics require injections of insulin.
There are certain risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes, such as being overweight, and having fat stored in the belly, rather than the hips and thighs.
Leading a sedentary lifestyle can also lead to an increased risk of diabetes, as can a family history of the condition.
The risk of diabetes also increases with age, especially over the age of 45, as well as those who have polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Other risk factors include: pre-diabetes and high levels of triglycerides.
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