Type 2 diabetes is common in the UK and is usually the result of a person being overweight or obese.
The condition can lead to serious health complications if left untreated, such as a heart attack, so recognising the symptoms as early on as possible is very important.
The NHS notes symptoms such as feeling very tired and losing weight without trying to.
But other important symptoms to note are linked to your toilet habits.
People with diabetes commonly experience problems with controlling their bladder and bowel, says Continence NZ.
As a result of this, four toilet habits to note are:
- Accidental leakage
- Incomplete emptying
- Passing urine frequently
- Feeling the need to rush to the toilet
The site explains the main ways diabetes may cause problems with bladder and bowel control – one being obesity.
It explains: “This is a key factor in people developing type 2 diabetes. It is also a major risk factor for developing bladder and bowel control problems.
“The pelvic floor muscles support most of your body weight. Any excess weight further strains these muscles, weakening them.
“Weak pelvic floor muscles do not support the bladder and bowel as it should. If this happens you may notice leakage when coughing and sneezing (also known as stress incontinence) or the need to frequently or urgently visit the toilet.”
Other ways diabetes can cause problems with bladder and bowel control are nerve damage, reduce immunity and medication.
Itching of the skin, particularly itchiness around the genitals, is a symptom commonly associated with type 2 diabetes.
But this isn’t the only skin-related symptoms, according to American Academy of Dematology. Six to note are yellow, reddish or brown patches on the skin, hard thickening skin, blisters, skin infections, open sores and wounds, and skin tags.
Yellow, reddish or brown patches on the skin
The skin condition often begins as small raised solid bumps that look like pimples, says the organisation.
It adds: “As it progresses, these bumps turn into patches of swollen and hard skin.
“The patches can be yellow, reddish or brown. You may also notice the surrounding skin has a shiny porcelain-like appearance, you can see blood vessels, the skin is itchy and painful, and the skin disease does through cycles where it is active, inactive, and then active again.”
Hard, thickening skin
It says you may notice tight, waxy skin on the backs of your hands, and your fingers can become stuff and difficult to move.
“If diabetes has been poorly controlled for years, it can feel like you have pebbles in your fingertips,” it adds.
This is rare, but the organisation says people with diabetes can see blisters suddenly appear on their skin.
It adds: “You may see large blister, a group of blisters, or both. The blisters tend to form on the hands, feet, legs, or forearms and look like the blisters that appear after a serious burn.
“Unlike the blisters that develop after a burn, these blisters are not painful.”
People who have diabetes tend to get skin infections. It explains: “If you have a skin infection, you’ll notice one or more of the following – hot, swollen skin that is painful and an itchy rash and sometimes tiny blisters, dry scaly skin, or a white discharge that looks like cottage cheese.”
Open sores and wounds
Having high blood sugar for along time can lead to poor circulation and nerve damage. It says: “You may have developed these if you’ve had uncontrolled (or poorly controlled) diabetes for a long time.
“Poor circulation and nerve damage can make it hard for your body to heal wounds. This is especially true on the feet. These open wounds are called diabetic ulcers.”
Many people have skin tags, this is described as skin growths that hang from a stalk.
It advises: “While harmless, having numerous skin tags may be a sign that you have too much insulin in your blood or type 2 diabetes.”