Mark Labbett health: The Chase star’s unexpected diagnosis – what is it?
The Chase: Mark Labbett says ‘no chit chat’
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The 56-year-old was asked by a nurse “are you sure you’re not diabetic?” when at a check-up, due to the skin on his legs always having trouble healing. It was this beady-eyed spot by the medical professional that led to his diagnosis and in turn led to his mammoth weight loss journey.
Despite never having had a “diabetic episode” before his diagnosis Mark revealed that he has “skin that doesn’t heal properly in [his] lower legs.”
This led to a nurse taking some blood tests and revealing to the brainiac: “Yes, you’re diabetic.”
According to Medical News Today when blood glucose remains permanently high, it impairs the function of white blood cells. White blood cells are central to the role of the immune system and when unable to function correctly, the body is less able to fight bacteria and close wounds.
Therefore, those with uncontrolled diabetes may never heal from injuries or wounds. Diabetes can also cause neuropathy (nerve damage) which can affect wound healing.
This can happen on the smallest of wounds, cuts or grazes yet the risk of infection is just as great. If an individual develops an infection, can spread to tissue and bone, if left untreated, this can be fatal.
Even when an infection does not develop in a wound, slow healing can adversely affect a person’s overall health and quality of life. Cuts or injuries on the feet or legs can make walking difficult or exercise painful.
Factors that may increase your risk of bacterial infections if you already suffer from diabetes include the following:
- Impaired sweating
- Dry and cracked skin
- Toenail infections
- Foot abnormalities, such as foot ulcers.
How do I know if I have diabetes?
Diabetes, either type 1 or type 2, can be extremely serious. The condition occurs when your pancreas cannot make enough insulin, meaning your blood sugar levels keep rising.
Insulin is crucial to help us in our everyday lives. It allows glucose in your blood to enter our cells and fuel our bodies.
When eating, the carbohydrates in food are broken down into glucose, which then triggers the release of insulin in the pancreas. For those with type 2 diabetes – as in Mark’s case – the insulin doesn’t work properly and therefore blood sugar levels continue rising.
When experiencing symptoms, those with type 1 diabetes will experience symptoms extremely suddenly and those with type 2 may never experience symptoms at all.
However, according to The Mayo Clinic the most common signs and symptoms of diabetes in general include the following:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Extreme hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing sores
- Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections.
Type 2 diabetes symptoms are usually similar but also include areas of darkened skin usually in the armpits or neck.
If an individual does not have enough glucose in their blood it could lead to them having a diabetic episode – also known as diabetic hypoglycaemia.
Hypoglycemia is what doctors refer to as low blood sugar. Although more common in people with type 1 diabetes it can occur in those with type 2 if they:
- Skip a meal
- Exercise more than usual
- Drink alcohol
- Take too much insulin.
If undiagnosed those with diabetes will be unaware of the signs of hypoglycemia as they are not monitoring their blood sugar levels.
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The signs of severe hypoglycemia include:
- Blurred vision
- Passing out.
If you experience any similar symptoms to those listed above it is crucial to go and get checked with a GP. Although type 1 diabetes is unpreventable and incurable, there are certain lifestyle changes that can be made to help avoid type 2 diabetes.
In Mark’s case his diagnosis influenced him to lose a whopping 10 stone. With a starting weight of 29 stone the star finished his weight loss journey at 19 stone. He told The Sun: “This is the lightest I’ve been in 25 years. I’m now under 20 stone, and I am really feeling the difference, as well as seeing it. My knees really feel the difference. I will never be athletic again but I just move so much better for not carrying that extra weight.
“I’m not a drinker, but sugar has always been my downfall. I still have sugar but an awful lot less. I should have less still.”
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