HealthWarning symptoms of diabetes: From excessive thirst to an unpleasant breath

Warning symptoms of diabetes: From excessive thirst to an unpleasant breath

A sour breath odor can indicate diabetes.
A sour breath odor can indicate diabetes.
Images source: © Getty Images | simarik

1:52 PM EST, January 11, 2024

Diabetes, a metabolic condition often associated with modern civilization, is characterized by an excessively high concentration of sugar, or glucose, in the blood. This is usually due to either an inappropriate amount or dysfunction of insulin in the body. This deceptive disease often sends vague signals in its early stages.

If appropriate treatment is not taken, a person with diabetes can face numerous severe health issues, affecting their eyes, kidneys, or nervous system. Symptoms such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, chronic fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, and visual disturbances could indicate the onset of diabetes.

Moreover, a person with diabetes may notice recurrent infections or significant weight loss, which is not directly tied to the intake of certain medications, changes in diet, or increased physical exertion.

Symptoms of hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar levels in the bloodstream, can also manifest in the oral cavity. If we experience a feeling of dryness in the mouth and breath with an unpleasant, irritating odor similar to the smell of acidic apples, we should be concerned. Acidic breath can indicate a dangerous complication of diabetes called ketone acidosis. This condition, associated with a disturbed acid-base balance caused by a significant deficiency or absence of insulin in the patient's body, always requires immediate medical attention.

It's important to note that ketone acidosis can swiftly lead to a so-called diabetic coma. This potentially fatal condition most frequently occurs in patients with type 1 diabetes, especially among those unaware of their health condition or who have not sought appropriate treatment.

Other signs of diabetes that might occur in the oral cavity include: inflammation, infection and bleeding gums, a burning sensation in the mouth, slow-healing wounds around the mouth, taste disturbances, or oral thrush. Should we notice these symptoms and they either do not fade away on their own or worsen, it's critical to consult with a specialist at the earliest.

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