If Your Eyebrows Look Like This, Get Checked for Diabetes
German researchers say it may signal a blood sugar imbalance.
Diabetes can cause symptoms in just about every part of your body, from your head to your toes—and researchers are still learning all the ways it can affect your health. As you become resistant to insulin and sugar builds up in the bloodstream, you may be surprised by some of the subtle ways your body responds. In fact, a team of German researchers believe a connection exists between the color of your eyebrows as you age and your diabetes risk. If you notice this one thing, they say, you should ask your doctor for a fasting glucose test. Read on to find out which surprising symptom is raising eyebrows in the medical community, and which other diabetes symptoms should be on your radar.
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If you have gray hair but your eyebrows haven't changed, get checked for diabetes.
According to a 2006 study which took place in Germany, diabetes may affect your eyebrow color as you age—specifically, it may delay their graying. The research team gathered a group of 100 male subjects with gray hair—50 of whom had gray eyebrows and another 50 who did not—and compared the rates of diabetes in both groups. Among the men with unchanged eyebrows, 76 percent had diabetes, while just 18 percent of the gray-browed cohort had a blood sugar imbalance. "Diabetes may cause a delay or inhibition of graying in the eyebrow hair follicles," Uwe Wollina, M.D., Ph.D., the lead study author, told Men's Health at the time of the study's release.
While the exact cause for this theorized delay is unknown and more research is needed to confirm the study's results, this is not the only way that diabetes can affect your hair follicles. Researchers have also found that those with diabetes are also more likely to experience alopecia areata, which manifests in patches of hair loss.
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Look out for these other symptoms of diabetes.
While eyebrow color may be linked to diabetes, there are some symptoms that are considered much more common—and are therefore more likely to lead to diagnosis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these symptoms may include a frequent need to urinate, abnormal thirst or hunger, unintentional weight loss, blurred vision, fatigue, skin changes, slow healing sores on the legs or feet, and frequently recurring infections such as yeast infections. Speak with your doctor if you notice these or any other signs of a blood sugar imbalance.
Find out if you're at high risk for diabetes.
Knowing whether you're at high risk may also help you identify a problem sooner. As the Mayo Clinic explains, you may be at increased risk for type 2 diabetes if you are overweight, inactive, or have a family history of diabetes. Your risk also increases with age, and you're more likely to develop diabetes if you are Black, Asian American, Hispanic, or Native American, the Clinic says.
Having a personal history of certain conditions can also increase your chances of developing a blood sugar imbalance. These include having developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy, having polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), having high blood pressure, and having abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
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Controlling your diabetes is crucial to your health.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it's essential to manage your blood sugar levels by keeping them within the target range. According to the CDC, this is the best way to "prevent or delay long-term, serious health problems [associated with diabetes], such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease."
To do so, the health authority suggests tracking your blood sugar levels and noting what makes them spike or fall. Eating controlled portions of healthy meals at regular times of day and choosing foods that are lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt, can help you maintain a healthy weight and stabilize your glucose levels. Get regular exercise, limit your alcohol intake, and replace juice and soda with water, the CDC further advises.
And, if you have not been diagnosed with diabetes but suspect that you may have symptoms, speak with your doctor immediately. A simple blood test can help you reach a diagnosis and take charge of your health.
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