Type 2 diabetes symptoms can be difficult to spot because the condition doesn’t necessarily make a person feel unwell. Some of the most common signs include peeing more than usual, feeling thirst all the time, and feeling very tired. But another sign to look out for is skin tags.
Skin tags are small growths that hang off a person’s skin. While they’re common and harmless, they can indicate type 2 diabetes.
A study published in 2007 found there was an increased risk of diabetes in people who had multiple skin tags.
It was recommended healthcare providers suspect diabetes in people with skin tags.
A study published in 2015 reached the same conclusions which strengthened the link.
What is a skin tag?
Skin tags are made of loose collagen fibres and blood vessels surrounded by skin.
The NHS explains: “Collagen is a type of protein found throughout the body.”
The health body adds: “Skin tags tend to grow in the skin folds, where the skin rubs against itself, such as on the neck, armpits or groin.
“This is why they tend to affect overweight people who have excess folds of skin and skin chafing.”
Other symptoms of type 2 diabetes
Other symptoms include:
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision
A person is most at risk of developing type 2 diabetes if they are over 40 (or 25 for south Asian people) or have a close relative with diabetes.
Being overweight or obese or being of Asian, African-Caribbean or black African origin are also risk factors.
How to manage your blood sugar levels
Eating a healthy diet and keeping active are some of the best ways to manage blood sugar levels.
The NHS advises: “There’s nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you’ll have to limit certain foods.
“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.”
You should also aim to do 2.5 hours of activity a week, as physical exercise can help lower blood sugar levels.
You can be active anywhere as long as it gets you out of breath.
Examples of different exercises include fast walking, climbing stairs and doing more strenuous housework or gardening.
Losing weight if you’re overweight can also make it easier for your body too lower blood sugar.
The NHS advises: “There is evidence that eating a low-calorie diet (800 to 1,200 calories a day) on a short-term basis (around 12 weeks) can help with symptoms of type 2 diabetes. And some people have found that their symptoms go into remission.
“A low-calorie diet is not safe or suitable for everyone with type 2 diabetes, such as people who need to take insulin. So it is important to get medical advice before going on this type of diet.”
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