Doctor warns untreated diabetes could lead to amputation – early signs to spot

Dr Amir lists diabetes symptoms

For most people, the process of developing type 2 diabetes is quite gradual, said Dr Staten.

He explained: “People often don’t notice the insidious creep of symptoms and gradually they get used to having high blood sugar levels.”

There can be severe consequences, however, if you continue to allow blood sugar levels to rise.

Dr Staten verified: “In the worst cases, the nerve damage to the feet eventually leads to amputations.

“The heart disease [of which diabetes is a contributing factor] results in heart attacks.

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“People might go blind, end up needing dialysis because of kidney damage, or may suffer from other cardiovascular problems such as strokes.”

Early diagnosis and intervention are key to minimising such life-altering risks.

In the early stages, signs of high blood sugar can show up on the skin.

Dr Staten elaborated: “Probably the most common sign on the skin is recurrent infections.”

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Examples include boils, folliculitis, recurrent cases of thrush, and darkened and thickened patches of skin in the armpit (acanthosis nigricans).

Symptoms to report to your doctor include:

  • Feeling thirsty all the time
  • Peeing more than usual
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Blurred vision.

Dr Staten said: “Common late issues are visual loss because diabetes can damage the retina at the back of the eye.

“And symptoms like numbness, pain and tingling in the feet and later the hands due to nerve damage.”

Nerve damage can lead to foot ulcer and infections; elevated blood sugar levels can lead to heart disease, leading to chest pain and breathlessness.

“In many cases, people can bring down their blood sugar with diet and lifestyle measures,” said Dr Staten.

Anybody who suspects they could have diabetes are advised to book a doctor’s appointment.

NHS GP Dr Adam Staten is also the Clinical Director at One Day Tests.

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