Your throat feels parched and scratchy and your breath is stale. While you may dismiss this as not drinking enough water or coming down with a cold, if you experience a chronic dry throat, diabetes may be to blame. Type 2 or adult-onset diabetes is a chronic condition that raises your blood sugar levels leading to symptoms such as thirst and dry mouth. If you are diagnosed with this disease, rest assured that it is common and manageable. The American Diabetes Association notes that nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes.
A dry throat can feel like someone has sandpapered the lining of your throat. Your throat might feel itchy and even sore. The dry, rough feeling may also occur in your mouth and on your tongue. There are many causes of a dry throat including being dehydrated, excessive exercise, habitually sleeping or breathing with an open mouth and an infection. If your dry throat persists no matter how much water you drink and you also seem to urinate more than usual, you may have diabetes. Diabetes.co.uk notes that thirst, excess urination and a dry mouth are signs of diabetes.
Thirst in Diabetes
Diabetes occurs because your body cannot make enough or adequately use a hormone called insulin, which carries sugar from your bloodstream into your cells where it can be burned for energy. This raises your blood sugar levels, causing a domino effect on your body that leads to dehydration and thirst. Diabetes.co.uk explains that as your blood sugar levels spike, the kidneys sense an imbalance and kick into overdrive to secrete more sugar through your urine. More urination means extra water loss from your body, causing chronic thirst and a dry mouth and throat.
You can have a range of diabetes symptoms or none at all. If your dry throat occurs along with other symptoms, it might be more likely to be caused by this chronic condition. Diabetes UK notes that diabetics are also more likely to have thrust, a yeast infection in the mouth that can spread to the throat, causing sensations of dryness and irritation. Other tell-tale signs of diabetes, according to MayoClinic.com, include low energy, fatigue, blurred vision, gum and skin infections and changes in weight. If you are overweight or obese, this can trigger changes in how your body produces and uses the hormone insulin, increasing your risk for diabetes.
A dry throat might sound trivial and not something you should mention to your doctor. However, you know your body better than anyone; it is important that you consult your doctor if you feel something is amiss. Catching signs and symptoms early and diagnosing the condition helps you and your doctor treat it more effectively with medications, balanced nutrition and exercise. Untreated or uncontrolled Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious complications. The Merck Manual warns that unchecked diabetes can cause heart disease, kidney failure, brain damage, nerve damage, vision problems and even blindness. If you have diabetes, you must also take particular care of your feet, as diabetes can damage the blood supply and nerves, leading to unhealed wounds that require toe or foot amputations.
Nadia Haris is a registered radiation therapist who has been writing about nutrition for more than six years. She is completing her Master of Science in nutrition with a focus on the dietary needs of oncology patients.