With diabetes becoming a growing concern in India, a large number of people are opting for regular screening to check their sugar levels. Most people are aware of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and consider their sugar levels normal if they aren’t diagnosed as one of these. However, there is another condition rapidly gaining ground, termed as pre-diabetes. This denotes borderline sugar levels which can turn to diabetes if corrective action isn’t taken.
In India, over 80 million people are considered to be pre-diabetic which is quite a significant numberi. Additionally, as the symptoms at this stage are almost non-existent, it may go undiagnosed till it becomes full blown diabetes! Here we bring you some of the lesser known symptoms of pre-diabetes that you may not even be aware of.
A dry mouth along with excess thirst is a major indicator of abnormal sugar levels. When the sugar levels in the bloodstream are high, it leads to frequent urination and dehydration which may result in dryness of the mouth and a sense of constantly feeling parched. In some cases, this symptom may also be accompanied with swollen or bleeding gums due to nerve damage caused by excess sugar.
Dark and patchy skin
The sudden dark patches appearing on your skin are often an early symptom of high sugar levels or pre-diabetes. A lot of young adults tend to dismiss this factor by blaming the sun, pollution, weather conditions and a host of different reasons. However, dark patches, especially around the neck, elbows, and knees tend to be a result of excess blood sugar or hormonal imbalance and should be rectified at the earliest.
Social withdrawal and behavioural change
Do you find yourself moody and irritable? Or the constant feeling of fatigue making you snappy and low? A lot of times, these factors are accompanied with a sense of social withdrawal where people don’t want to step out of their house because they are just tired and low on energy. Well, the good news is that you probably haven’t lost your social groove but unfortunately it may be time to recheck your sugar levels. Fluctuating sugar levels can take a huge toll on your body leaving you tired, moody and feeling a little depressed. However, the instant your levels get back on track, so will your emotional health and energy.
Finding yourself staying up each night without any reason is another symptom of elevated sugar levels. If the phrase, ‘early to bed, early to rise’ phenomenon seems a mystery to you, it may be time to check your sugar levels! This is because elevated sugar levels can affect your metabolism, hormonal balance and nervous system, all of which can impact sleep. Further, the more disrupted your sleep, the higher is the chance of your pre-diabetes turning into diabetes. So, if you aren’t getting your share of snooze at night, you may be suffering from an undiagnosed case of pre-diabetes.
An often unknown and embarrassing symptom for many, sexual dysfunction is another symptom of elevated blood sugar levels or pre-diabetes. While this is found commonly in people with diabetes, if high sugar levels stay undiagnosed for a long time, as is often witnessed with pre-diabetes, it can lead to nerve damage and problems in the genital area, making sex uncomfortable.
Along with these, it is also essential to keep a watch for common pre-diabetes symptoms and risk factors as indicated below:
Family history: In a family where either or both parents have a diabetic diagnosis or any of the siblings have been detected with high sugar levels, the risk increases making a regular screening essential.
Expanded waist size: As the area around the abdomen increases, the body’s ability to metabolise sugar decreases, thus increasing the risk for pre-diabetes in people that are obese. A waist size of 35 inches or more in a woman and 40 inches or more in a man is a serious concern for blood sugar levels and puts one in a risk category for pre-diabetes.
Sedentary lifestyle: Decreased physical activity levels are also a major reason for elevated sugar levels as the body doesn’t utilise enough energy causing the sugar to stay in the bloodstream.
Junk food consumption: Increased consumption of processed and junk food that are extremely high in sugar, salt and fat, along with irregular meal times, can also elevate sugar levels.
Thus, we can see that there are certain warning signs of pre-diabetes or high sugar levels, even though one may not commonly associate them with this condition. Visiting a Doctor on experiencing these symptoms and making guided lifestyle and diet changes in time can go a long way in reversing your pre-diabetes and preventing diabetes.