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Dryness commonly leads to other skin problems such as itching , cracking, and peeling. Any small breaks in the skin leave it more exposed to injury and infection. It is therefore important to keep skin well moisturized. The best way to moisturize is to apply lotion or cream right after showering and patting the skin dry. This will seal in droplets of water that are present on the skin from the shower. Skin that is severely dry may require application of heavy-duty emollients 23 times a day.
Itchy skin is usually related to dryness, but it can also be related to poor circulation, especially in the legs and feet. This is typically due to atherosclerosis, a disease in which fatty plaques are deposited in the arteries. Fungal infections, which can be more common when a person has high blood glucose, can also be very itchy.
Diabetes Can Cause Neuropathy
Diabetes can cause nerve damage called neuropathy, a common diabetes complication. Sometimes the damage causes a loss of sensation in the feet. If you step on something and injure your foot or develop a blister, you may not be able to feel it. An open skin sore called a foot ulcer can develop and could get infected. Take a look at your feet every day to make sure they are not injured in any way.
Skin Problems Linked To Diabetes And Insulin Resistance
- Acanthosis nigricans. This is a skin problem that results in the darkening and thickening of certain areas of the skin especially in the skin folds. The skin becomes tan or brown and is sometimes slightly raised and described as velvety. Most often the condition, which typically looks like small warts, appears on the sides or back of the neck, the armpits, under the breast, and groin. Occasionally the top of the knuckles will have a particularly unusual appearance. Acanthosis nigricans usually strikes people who are very overweight. While there is no cure for acanthosis nigricans, losing weight may improve the skin condition. Acanthosis nigricans usually precedes diabetes and is considered to be a marker for the disease. There are other health conditions that also are known to cause acanthosis of the skin and these include acromegaly and Cushing syndromes. It is thought that this health condition is a skin manifestation of insulin resistance.
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Dm Skin Disorders Progression And Potential Outcomes
An important variability on severity and potential outcomes is observed among skin disorders in DM. Early-stage skin disorders in DM, such as xerosis, callus and fissures, are usually neglected and frequently underdiagnosed . Lack of diagnosis and treatment on early-stage skin disorders can lead to clinical worsening, and progression to foot neuropathy, ulcers and even amputation . DM-induced neuropathy can reach sensory, motor and autonomic pathways, leading to different dermatologic conditions .
Sensory neuropathy: insensibility and decreased temperature sensation, affecting the sensibility on lesions .
Motor neuropathy: causes toe and gait deformity, leading to foot deformity and increased plantar pressure .
Autonomic neuropathy: leads to anhidrosis and vasodilation, causing dry skin, skin tears and fissures , also losing viscoelasticity .
Skin Disorders In Diabetes And Epidemiology
Diabetes mellitus represents a high prevalent disease with high morbidity and mortality. In 2014, there were 387 million diagnosed cases of diabetes and 4.9 million deaths worldwide. Additionally, about 77 % of people with diabetes live in less developed regions . Although prevalence of diabetes morbidity is high, specific data on complications related to skin disorders are limited. Several epidemiological studies evaluating occurrence of skin disorders on type 1 and type 2 DM were performed worldwide, with pattern of skin disorders varying according to DM type and region where the study was conducted.
Overall prevalence of skin disorder in both type 1 and 2 DM varied from 51.1 to 97 % in different regions worldwide. The high prevalence of dermatological disorder among DM patients described in literature endorses the clinical importance and high impact of this complication.
Although study design and eligibility criteria of the included patients varied slightly among reported studies, most frequent disorder reported in diabetic patients, regardless of DM type, was infectionoccurring in at least 20.6 % of diagnosed patients. Moreover, fungal infections were more prevalent than bacterial or viral infections , and interdigital spaces, genitalia and skin folds were the most frequent site of infection .
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Common Diabetes Skin Problems
These skin issues should be taken seriously. Even seemingly simple color changes in your skin may look harmless but could indicate something more significant is developing.
For some, a referral to a dermatologist can actually lead to a persons initial diabetes diagnosis, because skin issues are one of the earliest signs that develop, particularly in those with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes can cause several types of skin problems, explained Michele S. Green, MD, and dermatologist from Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. The majority, she adds, are preventable with healthy blood sugar management. And fortunately, many of them can be eased or entirely fixed with healthy blood sugar management.
Dont hesitate to contact your doctor or visit an urgent care clinic if you suspect you may be experiencing symptoms similar to any of these skin issues.
Vitiligo Causes Skin To Lose Color
Vitiligo is a skin problem in which the skin cells that make melanin are destroyed, leading to irregular, blotchy patches that often occur on the hands, face, or chest. Although the cause of vitiligo is unknown, experts believe it is an autoimmune condition like type 1 diabetes, and research published in July 2016 in BioMed Research International described the link between the two conditions. There’s no cure, but light therapy and steroids are used to manage vitiligo. If you have the condition, it’s important to wear a sunscreen of at least 30 SPF, since depigmented skin has no natural sun protection.
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Rashes Bumps And Blisters
- Rashes and bumps: Allergic reactions to foods, bug bites, and medicines can cause rashes, depressions, or bumps on the skin. It is especially important for people with diabetes to check for skin problems, such as rashes or bumps, in the areas where they inject their insulin.
- Diabetic blisters : In rare cases, people with diabetes develop skin problems, such as blisters that resemble burn blisters. These blisters can occur on the fingers, hands, toes, feet, legs, or forearms. Diabetic blisters usually are painless and heal on their own. These skin problems often occur in people who have severe diabetes and diabetic neuropathy. Bringing your blood sugar level under control is the medical treatment for this health condition.
- Disseminated granuloma annulare: This skin condition causes sharply defined, ring or arc-shaped areas on the skin. These rashes most often occur on the fingers and ears, but they can occur on the chest and abdomen. The rash can be red, red-brown, or skin colored. Medical treatment usually is not required, but sometimes a topical steroid medication, such as hydrocortisone, may help.
Here Are Some Tips To Consider:
Use products with ceramides. Ceramides help prevent and heal dry skin, and overall improve the skins barrier. Other ingredients that could benefit the skin include Vitamin C, peptides, and Retin-A. Those are the magic four ingredients, said Wands. If you have a specific skin condition, talk to your healthcare provider about other potential prescriptions or over the counter products to use.
Rotate your insertion sites when possible. This can help prevent overuse and scar tissue. For insulin pumps rotate every 2-3 days, and for CGMs rotate every 10-14 days.
Wear sunscreen! Proper sunscreen use will keep your skin healthy and help keep your glucose levels in range and avoid sunburn.
Find an adhesive that works for your skin. Everyone’s skin is different, so try different ones until you find the best adhesive for you. If you happen to experience an allergic reaction, one of the main treatments is a topical steroid cream, according to Wands.
Above all, keep your glucose levels in range. Staying in a healthy glucose range is helpful for preventing and healing wounds, scar tissue, sunburns, and other diabetes-related complications.
At the end of the day, Wands emphasized that keeping your has so many positive effects for your skin you dont even realize.
To find out more about how diabetes, and specifically how diabetes devices, can affect your skin, read our article: Does Your Diabetes Device Bother Your Skin?
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Common Skin Conditions Linked To Diabetes
Itching skin, or pruritus, can have several causes, such as dry skin, poor blood flow, or a yeast infection. When itching is caused by poor blood flow, you will feel it in your feet and/or lower legs. Lotion can keep the skin moist, preventing itching due to dry skin.
Bacterial infections: Staphylococcus skin infections are more serious and common in individuals with uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes. When hair follicles are irritated, the bacteria can cause inflamed bumps or boils.
Other infections also include:
- Nail infections
Vitiligo: This condition affects skin colour. Its more common in those suffering from type 1 diabetes. With vitiligo, the cells that make melanin, the substance that gives your skin colour, are destroyed. Patches of skin start looking discolored. They appear on the chest and stomach. But they can also show up on the face around the nose, mouth and eyes.Shin spots : This condition happens due to changes caused in the blood vessels present in your skin. Dermopathy appears as an oval or shiny round lesion on the skin of your shins. The patches dont hurt and rarely cause an itching sensation.
Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum:
Another disease that may be caused by changes in blood vessels is necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum . NLD causes spots similar to diabetic dermopathy, but they are fewer, larger, and deeper.
Diabetic blisters :
Common Skin Problems Linked To Diabetes
Uncontrolled diabetes affects different parts of your body, including your skin.
In fact, health experts recommend that diabetic people take good care of their skin, as diabetes can cause a number of skin problems. Staving off skin problems also requires good management of ones blood sugar levels.
Skin problems arise due to high blood sugar levels, reduced sensitivity of nerves and poor blood circulation. Also, greater loss of fluid from the body due to high blood glucose levels can cause the skin to become dry and lead to itching.
People who have diabetes also tend to get skin infections that can occur on any area of the body, including between the toes, around one or more of the nails and on the scalp.
If not treated timely, even minor skin problems can lead to serious complications because diabetes slows the process of healing. This is why it is very important to learn about the common skin problems associated with diabetes. Timely diagnosis means better treatment and fewer complications.
Here are some of the common skin problems linked to diabetes.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms
Diabetic dermopathy lesions appear most frequently on the shins. Less commonly lesions can be found on the front of the thighs, forearm, side of the foot, scalp and trunk. Features of lesions are:
- Round or oval-shaped
- Initially scaly but then flattens out and becomes indented
- Commonly occur on both shins.
The presence of four or more lesions is almost always limited to patients with diabetes. People presenting with shin spots not already diagnosed with diabetes should undergo a further investigation to rule out the possibility of early diabetes.
Skin Discoloration And Changes In Texture
Diabetic dermopathy: Also known as shin spots, these diabetes skin symptoms involve light brown, oval or circular patches of scaly skin on the lower legs due to damage to the small blood vessels that supply the tissues with nutrition and oxygen. Although this form of diabetes-related skin discoloration typically does not require treatment, it may persist even when your blood glucose is well-controlled.1
Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum : Though rarer than diabetic dermopathy, NLD also causes patches of dark skin on the legs, which are sometimes associated with extreme itching and pain. Though treatment is generally unnecessary, it is important to talk to your doctor about ways to prevent this condition from progressing.1
Acanthosis nigricans: This type of diabetes-related skin discoloration can present as raised patches of brown, tan or gray skin on the neck can, and can also appear in the groin and armpits as well as on the elbows and knees. The patches often have a velvety feel and appearance. This type of skin discoloration is more prevalent in diabetic patients who are obese.1
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The Best Skin Products For Diabetes
When choosing skin-care products, you should be looking for options made for dry skin.
Dr. Hu suggests looking into CeraVe Diabetics Dry Skin Cleansing Wash and CeraVe Diabetes Dry Skin Relief Hand and Feet Cream . Both products are formulated with lipids that work to restore your skin’s natural barrier. Additionally, they’re free from harsh chemicals and fragrances which can further dry out the skin. Win-win.
You can also try looking for products that contain lanolin, a natural oil that easily penetrates dry skin to restore softness. Theraderm Extreme Dry Skin Therapy and Theraderm Body Restoration Crème are both lanolin-based and can bring sweet relief to dry skin. Using lanolin-based products can help diabetic skin be less prone to developing cracks where bacteria can easily invade to cause infections or other serious problems.
What Causes Diabetic Dermopathy
The exact cause of diabetic dermopathy is unknown but may be associated with diabetic neuropathic and vascular complications, as studies have shown the condition to occur more frequently in diabetic patients with retinopathy, neuropathy and nephropathy.
Diabetic dermopathy tends to occur in older patients or those who have had diabetes for at least 1020 years. It also appears to be closely linked to increased glycosylated haemoglobin, an indicator of poor control of blood glucose levels.
Because lesions often occur over bony parts of the body such as the shins, it is thought that diabetic dermopathy may also be a magnified response to injury or trauma to these areas. Studies have shown that shin spots have appeared in response to trauma with heat, cold or blunt objects in patients with diabetes.
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Disseminated Granuloma Annulare Causes Skin Itching
This skin problem causes raised, bumpy, or ring-shaped spots that are skin colored, red, or red-brown. Disseminated granuloma annulare most often occurs on the fingers and ears. Some people report mild itching. Typically, medical treatment is not needed because the rash usually disappears on its own without leaving scars. But ask your doctor if a topical steroid, like hydrocortisone, could improve your skin problems.
Bacterial Infections With Diabetic Skin
When blood glucose levels are high, a person with diabetes is more susceptible to infection. This is believed to be why theres a higher incidence of certain bacterial infections among people with diabetes and why these infections tend to be more serious than in the general population. The following are some of the more common bacterial infections in people who have diabetes.
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How To Manage Diabetes Skin Problems
For patients suffering from diabetic skin conditions, keeping their diabetes under control is the most important factor in preventing the development and worsening of skin-related diabetes complications. Maintaining control over blood glucose levels, using proper diabetic skin care, and staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water can help reduce the risk of skin-related problems. The following comprises additional ways to help prevent the occurrence and worsening of diabetes-related skin issues.
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Bacterial Skin Infections Need Immediate Treatment
Although anyone can get bacterial skin infections, people with diabetes are more prone to them. Typical bacterial skin problems that tend to trouble patients include eyelid sties, boils, nail infections, and carbuncles deep infections of the skin and the tissue underneath. Usually, the area around the infection will be hot, red, painful, and swollen. Treatment with antibiotic creams or pills will usually clear up these skin problems.
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Are You Suffering From A Diabetes
Do you have diabetes? Diabetes is the fastest growing long-term disease, affecting millions of people across the globe. In the United States, more than 25 million people suffer with diabetes. About 75 percent of them have type 2 diabetes, linked to obesity or being overweight. Researchers believe that the diabetes epidemic will escalate, and predict that in 2050, one in three Americans will have diabetes.
About a third of people with diabetes will develop skin problems such as skin sores or a leg rash. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association , some skin problems can be warning signs of diabetes in those who are undiagnosed. The good news is that most skin problems with diabetes can be prevented or treated easily if theyre caught early.
Keeping proper control of your blood sugar can prevent diabetes skin problems and many other diabetes symptoms from happening in the first place.
Many diabetes skin problems can happen to healthy people, but people with diabetes have a much higher risk. Diabetes skin problems include:
- Bacterial infections
- Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum
- Skin itching
Controlling your blood glucose is the first step in preventing and treating diabetes skin problems. When diabetes affects your skin, causing skin sores or diabetes rash, it is a sign your blood sugar levels are too high.