Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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Figures released earlier this year revealed that diabetes rates are rising sharply, highlighting the pressing need for early characterisation of the condition. Because diabetes isn’t linked to any clinical symptoms, however, early identification is rare. According to some experts, two colours in the nails may be signs of high blood sugar.
The pernicious nature of type 2 diabetes means many cases of the condition go undiagnosed. As the condition develops, however, symptoms may start emerging swiftly.
Diabetes can have devastating effects on numerous organ systems inside the body, that may ricochet to the skin, hair and nails.
Poor peripheral circulation is common with diabetes, often resulting in a loss of sensation in the feet, or changes in the appearance of nails.
This is the direct result of high blood sugar levels that are left untamed for long periods, injuring nerves throughout the body.
Elizabeth Salada, from Diabetes UK, explains that nails are an often overlooked window into your health.
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She explained: “Lots of common diseases can present themselves through the appearance of your nails.”A slight blush at the bottom of the nail can be a symptom of diabetes, said Salada.
“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.”
In separate lines of research, researchers have detailed further changes that may occur in the colour and texture of the nail as a result of long-standing glycaemic.
In one study published in the Journal Dermatologic Therapy, researchers wrote: “Over time many diabetics develop nails that are yellow, thickened, and sometimes fragile, ridged and brittle.
“There is definite overlap with some of the physical attributes seen in diabetic nails and those seen with ageing.
“It is unclear whether diabetes exacerbates nail changes associated with ageing and vice versa.”
What’s more, people with diabetes are prone to infection around the nails, making good nail care paramount.
This is because neuropathy – a medical term referring to damage of the nerve, and glycemia – referring to high blood sugar levels – increase the risk of infection.
Experts, therefore, recommend that diabetics file down any rugged edges to avoid puncture to the adjacent skin.
How to avoid diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that causes the levels of sugar in the blood to become too high, according to the NHS.
“It can cause symptoms like excessive thirst, needing to pee a lot and tiredness. It can also increase your risk of getting serious problems with your eyes, heart and nerves,” explains the health body.
“The earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treatment started, the better. Early treatment reduces the risk of other health problems.”
The stage of diabetes that precedes diabetes, known as pre-diabetes, can be reversed when detected early.
Researchers argue that a type 2 diabetes diagnosis can also be reversed with the help of substantial weight loss – in individuals who are overweight.
Certain lifestyle habits, such as regular exercise and drinking high volumes of water, could prevent the onset of diabetes and facilitate living with the condition.
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