Diabetes: Can you smell that? The ‘distinctive’ body smell signalling high blood sugar

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

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Diabetes rates are currently at an all-time high, and experts believe the pandemic has a lot to answer for. There is increasing evidence that taking early action can substantially alter the course of the disease and lower the risk of amputation and death. But being alert to the signs of high blood sugar is imperative. Sometimes, long-standing blood sugar levels will cause the body to produce a “distinctive” odour.

Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to respond to insulin, or cannot produce sufficient amounts to take up blood sugar.

As a result, blood glucose concentrations increase, leading to a cascade of complications.

Levels that are high, but are not yet deemed high enough to qualify as diabetes are referred to as pre-diabetes.

Needing to pee frequently, blurred vision, unintentional weight loss, feeling sick and dry mouth are all symptoms of high blood sugar. Occasionally, however, one’s body odour can change too.

READ MORE: Diabetes: Eating at a certain time of day could increase your risk of the condition

Medical News Today explains: “Body odour may be a sign of diabetes in some people.

“It happens when there is too much glucose in the blood.”

The Harley health Centre adds: “If your blood sugar is poorly controlled, you develop something called ketoacidosis, which results not only in a strange death smell like an old fruit bowl but also a ‘distinctive’ body odour. You need to get checked out right aware if this is happening to you.”

Ketoacidosis refers to the production of blood acids called ketone, which develops when the body is unable to produce enough insulin.

When left untreated, the condition can result in diabetic coma or death, so prompt medical attention is crucial.

The role of insulin is primarily to allow blood sugar to enter cells so that it can be broken down into energy.

But in the absence of insulin, the body turns to fat for fuel, which produces a build-up of ketones in the blood.

Signs of diabetic ketoacidosis include excessive thirst, frequent urination, nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, confusion, and weakness or fatigue.c

If you experience many of these signs at the same time you should seek emergency care, says the Mayo Clinic.

The Mayo Clinic recommends contacting a doctor if your body is struggling to tolerate food or liquid.

How to avoid diabetes

Guidelines for preventing or lowering the risk of diabetes are relevant for both those with and without the condition.

One of the first steps to lowering the risk is managing weight because carrying excessive amounts of weight can increase the risk of diabetes by 20 to 40 times.

What’s more, inactivity promotes type 2 diabetes, but moving around could slash the risk of the condition by up to 30 percent, according to the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

The role of diet is pivotal in diabetes management. Harvard Education suggests four “dietary changes” that can have a big impact on the risk of the condition.

Choosing whole grains over refined grains and other highly processed carbohydrates, skipping sugary drinks and opting for coffee, tea or water instead is important.

Opting for healthy fats, and limiting red meat intake or avoiding process meat, choosing nuts, whole grains poultry or fish instead can also be helpful.

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