Diabetes type 2: Dr Zoe Williams discusses high blood sugar risks
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Type 2 diabetes seems harmless at first glance because the symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell. In fact, you can live with the chronic condition for years without knowing it. Diabetes only tends to assert itself when blood sugar levels are consistently high and when this occurs a dry mouth or a fruit-smelling breath may occur.
Dr Ralph Abraham, Consultant in Diabetes, Lipid Disorders and Endocrinology outlines some of the tell-tale signs of type 2 diabetes.
He said: “The most obvious might be a dry mouth but you may have suspected something was amiss if you had already spent the night getting up frequently to pass urine and feeling thirsty.”
As he explains, the thirst and increased urination of diabetes are well known and occur when blood glucose is really high.
“But first thing in the morning, it is the dry mouth and throat that should alert one to diabetes.”
A dry mouth is clinically known as xerostomia and occurs when there’s a lack of saliva in the mouth.
Saliva helps to control levels of bacteria as well as balancing and washing away acid around teeth and gums.
Diabetes.co.uk explains: “People with diabetes are more susceptible to dry mouth and yeast infections such as thrush because of high glucose levels in their blood and saliva.”
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When a person has type 2 diabetes their body doesn’t make enough, or any, insulin or doesn’t use it well.
Glucose then lingers in the blood and can’t get into the cells.
When the body can’t get energy from glucose, it burns fat in its place.
The fat-burning process creates a build-up of acids in your blood called ketones, which leads to DKA if untreated.
Fruity-smelling breath is a sign of high levels of ketones in someone who already has diabetes.
It’s also one of the first symptoms that doctors look for when they check for DKA.
High blood sugar (hyperglycaemia) affects people who have diabetes, said the Mayo Clinic.
The health site added: “Several factors can contribute to hyperglycaemia in people with diabetes, including food and physical activity choices, illness, nondiabetes medications, or skipping or not taking enough glucose-lowering medication.
“If hyperglycaemia goes untreated, it can cause toxic acids (ketones) to build up in your blood and urine (ketoacidosis).
“Signs and symptoms include a fruity-smelling breath.”
How to respond
If you notice any of the above warning signs associated with high blood sugar levels, it is imperative that you take steps to lower your blood sugar levels.
Healthy lifestyle changes can help to stabilise your blood sugar levels, thereby staving off the risk of triggering a diabetic coma.
One of the most important countermeasures is to modify your diet, shunning items that can cause blood sugar levels to spike.
Carbohydrates are the worst culprit so you should watch your carb intake.
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