Red flag signs of silent killer that could be mistaken for harmless conditions

Red flag signs of silent killer that could be mistaken for harmless conditions

Dr Amir lists diabetes symptoms

Diabetes is often dubbed the silent killer because the symptoms it deals don’t necessarily make you feel unwell, making the condition difficult to identify.

While everyday skin problems like itchiness or cuts may be given just a quick scratch or a plaster, they could also be red flags for diabetes, according to Dr Avinash Hari Narayanan, leading blood testing expert and clinical lead at London Medical Laboratory.

Dr Narayanan said: “‘The chances are your itchy skin is down to dryness, that tingling feeling is because you sat in an odd position and that cut that refuses to heal is because it has been covered by a plaster for too long. 

“However, that may not be the case.”

Fortunately, the doctor has shared how to spot these lesser-known signs of the blood sugar condition.

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1.Dry, itchy skin

Chronic high blood sugar levels affect your blood circulation by damaging the lining of your small blood vessels, which impedes circulation.

The doctor said: “Poor circulation can cause skin dryness and itchy skin and diabetes could well be the cause.”

Additionally, Dr Narayanan recommended looking out for abnormal sensations like an itch that is difficult to locate and doesn’t go away as it may be related to nerve damage from chronic diabetes.

2.Tingling or numbness in hands, legs or feet

Over time, abnormal blood circulation and changes to how your cells get their oxygen and nutrient supply, can trigger nerve damage.

“This blocks the brain from sending and receiving signals to and from different parts of the body, causing numbness or a tingling feeling,” the expert said.

Worryingly, early diagnosis of this problem is “vital”, because once nerves have been damaged, they cannot repair themselves, the doctor warned.

3.Cuts that won’t heal

Damaged blood vessels can also result in slow wound healing and greater infection risk. 

While cuts that don’t heal are uncomfortable, the doctor warned that foot ulcers are “most concerning”.

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“Unhealed ulcers are the leading cause of diabetes-related amputations,” he said.

According to Diabetes UK, diabetic foot ulcers precede more than 80 percent of amputations. 

While these problems are only three, lesser-known symptoms of diabetes, there are many more hidden signs. 

Fortunately, one simple, diagnostic blood test, either with your GP or as a fingerprick test taken at home, could reveal the condition before any symptoms develop, Dr Narayanan said.

The doctor’s advice about diabetes signs comes as London Medical Laboratory’s latest analysis reveals one million people in the UK are likely to have undiagnosed diabetes. 

“We know Britain currently has 4.3 million registered diabetics, but it’s likely a million more Brits may have the disease without knowing it,” the doctor added.

Therefore, the laboratory has launched a campaign ‘Give the finger to diabetes’ to fight this invisible killer, which can shorten lives by up to ten years.

The campaign aims to identify undiagnosed cases with a simple fingerprick blood test that can be taken at home, or at one of the many drop-in clinics across London and nationwide.

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