Diabetes affects nearly every part of your body and your skin, the body's biggest organ is no exception to that rule. For those of you having diabetes, having too much glucose (sugar) in the blood fora long time can cause serious complications, including skin problems. In fact, as many as a third of people with diabetes will have a skin condition related to their disease at some time in their lives. Fortunately, most skin conditions can be prevented and successfully treated if diagnosed early. But if ignored, a minor skin condition can turn into a serious problem with potentially severe consequences.
There is a wide range of possibilities for skin diseases, including some that are specific to diabetes and others that are merely more likely to occur because of diabetes. Skin conditions common in diabetics are:
· One of the most common skin condition is Diabetic dermopathy. It is also known as shin spots, because the result is commonly brown or tan circular spots on your legs. The good news with these is that they are completely harmless and no treatment is required. They do not itch, bleed, spread or cause pain. Another condition Necrobiosis Lipodica Diabecicorum (NLD) seems similar to dermopathy, but is worse.
· Vitiligo is white patches on skin that are common in diabetics. They occur because the pigments in that area of your skin can no longer be produced due to being attacked. There are several treatment options for this kind of condition: medical, surgical as well as lasers.
· Blisters can also occur in some diabetics. Diabetic blisters can actually get quite large and can be found almost anywhere. Due to reduced skin sensation these blisters can get ulcerative as well.
· Those who are obese or overweight develop Acanthosis Nigricans and it results in the thickening and darkening of areas of the skin. It occurs commonly on neck but also seen in armpits, knuckles, breasts and groin. There is no cure for acanthosis nigricans, but losing weight improves the condition. Lasers have been tried with variable success.
· Diabetes Skin Infections:- There are also a wide range of problems that those with diabetes may be more susceptible to as compared to other people. These include fungal infections and bacterial infections, both of which need to be taken care of by seeing a doctor and getting examined.
Bacterial infections:- Bacterial infections are more commonly seen in people with diabetes. Styes in eyes, boils, hair follicles and skin infections are common.
Fungal infections:- Candidal fungal infections of skin as well as nail are common in diabetes. Fungal patches present as red sore skin with itching and developing into blisters and scales. These patchy infections usually appear at skin folds.
· Itching:- Itching may result from poor blood circulation, dry skin, or any kind of infection, mostly observed in lower extremities. Wiping your body till completely dry and using good moisturizing agent are the suggestive steps to manage simple itching.
· Xanthomatosis and Sclerosis:- High blood sugar aggravates these conditions; xanthomatosis is slight yellowish pea like pigmentation in feet, arms, legs, hands, buttocks etc. In sclerosis, skin of toe, forehead, hands becomes thick and waxy.
· Allergic Reactions:- Visible allergic reaction in the area of skin is examined when insulin is injected and, it may develop rashes.
Keeping your diabetes under control is the most important factor in preventing the skin-related complications of diabetes. Follow your health care provider's advice regarding nutrition, exercise, and medication. Keep your blood glucose level within the range recommended by your doctor. Proper skin care can also help reduce your risk of skin problems. With the understanding we have from modern science and medicine, most of these problems are relatively benign, although some can still be serious.