Diabetes is a condition that can get to anyone, including you and me. But how do we know whether we have diabetes?

The popular signs and symptoms people know when it comes to diabetes are an increase in thirst and increased frequency to pass urine. These are known as polydipsia and polyurea, respectively.

But diabetes doesn’t present with these two symptoms all the time. There are some lesser-known symptoms of diabetes that you should keep an eye on. These are not in any way diagnostic. If you see them make sure you act before it’s too late, be sure to investigate and make the necessary changes in your diet and lifestyle.

Acanthosis nigricans

Acanthosis nigricans can be feature of diabetes
Acanthosis Nigricans can be a feature of diabetes

Acanthosis nigricans is brown to black discoloration, and velvety appearance of certain areas of your body. These are commonly posterior and lateral folds of your neck, armpits, and groin region. 

While there are many causes for acanthosis nigricans, one reason is glucose intolerance in your body, or glucose resistance diabetes (type two diabetes)

Unexplained weight loss

Unexplained weight loss can be due to diabetes
Unexplained weight loss can be due to diabetes

Yes, even though obesity is commonly associated with obesity, and an unexplained weight loss can be a sign of diabetes. 

When you have diabetes, you either don’t have enough insulin in your blood, or your cells are not sensitive to insulin circulating in your blood. 

For this reason, your cells don’t get enough glucose from the blood. That causes your cells to use their own stored fat and glycogen. When they burn the fat and glycogen stores in your body, it causes you to lose your weight. 

There can be many reasons for unexplained weight loss, from malignancies to other endocrine diseases such as hyperthyroidism. But diabetes should be a condition that should be at the back of your mind when you are experiencing unexplained weight loss.

Increased hunger (Polyphagia)

Increased hunger can be due to diabetes
Increased hunger (Polyphagia) can be due to diabetes

Just like polydipsia and polyuria, polyphagia can be a sign of diabetes.

Just as unexplained weight loss, when your cells don’t get enough glucose into them, you will feel an increased sense of hunger. You can eat, but because glucose is not entering into your cells, you will continue to feel hungry. 

Poorly healing wounds

Poorly healing wounds are an unfortunate complication of diabetes. The only clue that you have diabetes can be a poorly healing wound.

That is due to the macrovascular and microvascular complications associated with diabetes. The commonly associated limbs are the lower limbs.

So as you can see, diabetes can present with very unusual symptoms. It’s better to keep an eye on your diabetes because early detection and starting treatments quickly can reduce the complications and associated organ damage of diabetes.

Make sure you keep an eye on whether you get any of these symptoms.


Dr Rukshan Ranatunge is a graduate from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya (MBBS). He is currently studying for his masters in health informatics.

Write A Comment