Type 2 diabetes symptoms: The sign in your mouth that could signal the condition
Type 2 diabetes causes the body to be infective at using the insulin it produces – a hormone that allows the body to use glucose (sugar) from carbohydrates in foods. As a result, this leads to high levels of blood glucose, and if blood glucose isn’t controlled properly and stays too high, it can lead to a number of problems, including kidney failure, nerve damage, heart disease and stroke.
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While prevention of the condition is key, spotting symptoms is also important. One symptom which has been linked to the condition is a dry mouth.
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 ad yeast infections such as thrush because of high glucose levels in their blood and saliva.”
Other causes can include dehydration, smoking and some medication.
An obvious symptom of dry mouth is having a lack of moisture in your mouth.
But other symptoms of dry mouth include irritation at the corners of the mouth and inflammation of the gums.
Oral thrush – yeast or fungal infections on the tongue and cheeks, sometimes following a course of antibiotics – can be another sign of dry mouth.
Symptoms of oral thrush include white patches in the mouth, redness of the tongue and cracking of the skin at the corner of the lips.
To treat and reduce the effect of a dry mouth, Diabetes.co.uk recommends keeping blood sugar levels within the recommended range.
How to keep blood sugar levels in check
A healthy diet and keeping active can help manage blood sugar levels, according to the NHS.
When it comes to diet, the health body says there’s nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes but certain foods should be limited.
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It advises: “You should eat a wide range of foods – including fruit, vegetables and some starchy foods like pasta, keep sugar, fat and salt to a minimum, and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day – do not skip meals.”
When it comes to being active, the health body explains: “Physical exercise helps lower your blood sugar level. You should aim for 2.5 hours of activity a week.
“You can be active anywhere as long as what you’re doing gets you out of breath. This could be fast walking, climbing stairs, and doing more strenuous housework or gardening.”
Losing weight if you’re overweight can also make it easier for the body to lower blood sugar levels.
Other symptoms of type 2 diabetes
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes aren’t always obvious, and many people may have the condition without realising.
This is because symptoms don’t necessarily make a person feel unwell.
But other symptoms to look out for include:
- Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision
If you experience these symptoms, see your GP.
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