Diabetes is becoming increasingly common in the UK, with more than five million people currently living with the condition. The number of diabetes patients has doubled in the last 15 years, according to charity Diabetes UK, and obesity is largely responsible for the sharp rise in cases.
Most diagnosed cases of diabetes are caused by type 2 diabetes, according to the NHS.
Type 2 diabetes describes where the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body doesn’t react to insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that helps to convert sugar in the blood into useable energy.
Having diabetes increases the risk of some deadly complications, including heart disease and strokes.
READ MORE: Type 2 diabetes – signs in your mouth warning of a diabetic coma
“[Diabetes] used to be something we looked out for in people over the age of 45, but now those developing the condition are getting younger and younger,” Dr Henderson told Express.co.uk.
“Someone is diagnosed with diabetes every two minutes. It’s an epidemic.
“If you’re thirsty all the time, constantly tired, experience blurred vision or have itchy skin, those are the common warning signs.
“Another [more embarrassing] symptom is itchiness around the genitals. If you think you may have these symptoms, make sure you see your GP. The sooner you know, the better.”
Genital itching or burning could be caused by a yeast infection, added medical website Diabetes.co.uk.
Diabetes patients are more susceptible to yeast infections, as high blood sugar levels provide the perfect environment for yeast to thrive.
If you have itchy genitals that lasts for a few days, it may be worth speaking to a doctor.
But if you’ve already been diagnosed with diabetes and develop genital itching, it might be a sign that your blood sugar levels are too high.
Many people will live with diabetes without even knowing it, however.
A large number of cases are diagnosed at routine check-ups with the GP.
But if you have any of the key warning signs of diabetes, and they won’t go away, you should consider seeing a doctor.
Diagnosing the condition early makes treatment easier, and the chances of complications much lower.