Diabetes type 2 warning – the smelly symptom you should never ignore

Diabetes is a common condition that affects more than four million people in the UK, and 90 per cent of cases are caused by type 2 diabetes. You could be at risk of diabetes if you often suffer from bad breath, it’s been revealed.

Diabetes could be caused by the body not producing enough of the hormone insulin, or the body not reacting to insulin.

Without enough insulin, the body struggles to convert sugar in the blood into useable energy.

Diagnosing the condition early is crucial, as patients are more at risk of developing some deadly complications, including heart attack and strokes.

One of the earliest warning signs of diabetes is developing persistent bad breath.

READ MORE: Type 2 diabetes symptoms – experiencing pain is a warning sign

Bad breath, or halitosis, is linked to high blood sugar due to glucose levels in the mouth.

High blood sugar increases the amount of glucose in patients’ saliva.

That creates a feast for bacteria in the mouth, which contributes to bad breath.

Some diabetes patients also develop halitosis as the body burns fat instead of glucose, if there’s an absence of insulin.

Burning fat creates a waste product, ketones, which cause an unusual smell on the breath.

“Halitosis, better known as ‘bad breath’, is sometimes associated with diabetes,” said medical website Diabetes.co.uk.

“Having bad breath can have knock-on effects, such as loss of self-esteem and even contribute to depression.

“If you notice you have bad breath, it could be a side effect of your regular medications. Some people report having bad breath as a result of taking metformin.


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“If you take metformin and think it is causing you to have bad breath, contact your diabetes healthcare team for advice on alternative medications which may be available.”

You can treat bad breath yourself at home by making sure you brush your teeth and gums at least twice a day.

You should also gently clean your tongue using a tongue scraper.

An antibacterial mouthwash and toothpaste may also contribute to a fresher-smelling breath.


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Meanwhile, many people may be living with diabetes without even knowing it, because the symptoms don’t necessarily make you feel unwell.

The most common diabetes symptoms include extreme fatigue, having an unquenchable thirst, and having cuts or wounds that take longer to heal than normal.

But you could lower your risk of the condition by eating a healthy, balanced diet, and by doing regular exercise.

Everyone should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week.

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