Polyphagia is common diabetes symptom that strikes when you eat

Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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Diabetes can go undetected for many years before the problem that triggers symptoms – high blood sugar levels – decides to rear its ugly head. This makes knowing the various subtle signs that come with it front and centre. While many health conditions usually strip you of your appetite, diabetes could do the exact opposite.

Diabetes symptoms don’t exactly draw attention to themselves. Their subtle nature makes them often difficult to spot, according to the NHS.

One of the more “common” diabetes symptoms that targets many patients is polyphagia, according to Diabetes.co.uk.

Polyphagia, or increased appetite, describes excessive hunger or an increased desire to eat.

While everyone is bound to get hungry throughout the day, the health portal details the tell-tale signs that could help identify increased hunger as a symptom of diabetes.

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The first tell for normal appetite is whether you can justify being hungrier than usual.

Things like intensive exercise or other strenuous activity could stir up this issue, leaving you craving more food than usual.

In diabetes, polyphagia is triggered by either low or high blood sugar levels, the health portal explains.

If your blood glucose is abnormally high, your body can’t convert the food you ate into energy, tricking you into feeling hungry.

Diabetes.co.uk states: “Simply eating will not get rid of the hungry feeling of polyphagia in people with uncontrolled diabetes, as this will just add to the already high blood glucose levels. 

“The best way to lower blood glucose levels is to exercise as this can help to stimulate insulin production and reduce blood sugar levels.”

On the other hand, you can also experience increased appetite when you have abnormally low blood glucose (hypoglycaemia).

The health portal advises: “People with diabetes that take medication such as insulin and sulfonylureas are at risk of developing a severe form of hypoglycaemia and should therefore treat low blood glucose levels by eating something sweet as soon as hypoglycaemia is recognised.”

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The main tell-tale sign of polyphagia caused by diabetes is that it won’t go away by simply eating more food.

Diabetes.co.uk adds: “If you are worried by your sudden increase in appetite, you should consult your doctor. 

“They will examine you to check whether your hunger is a symptom of diabetes or another medical condition.”

While polyphagia is one of the more “common” symptoms of diabetes, it isn’t the only red flag.

According to the NHS, the full list of tell-tale symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Peeing more frequently than usual, particularly at night
  • Feeling very tired
  • Weight loss and loss of muscle bulk
  • Itching around your genitals, or frequent episodes of thrush
  • Cuts or wounds that heal slowly
  • Blurred vision.

You should visit your GP “as soon as possible” if you experience any of these main symptoms, the health service urges.

While type 1 diabetes can develop quickly over weeks or even days, many people with type 2 can go years without realising they have the condition.

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