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How Does Diabetes Affect The Skin

Outbreak Of Small Reddish

WHAT DIABETES DOES TO YOUR SKIN // DERMATOLOGIST @Dr Dray

When these bumps appear, they often look like pimples. Unlike pimples, they soon develop a yellowish color. Youll usually find these bumps on the buttocks, thighs, crooks of the elbows, or backs of the knees. They can form anywhere though.

Eruptive-xanthomatosis

These bumps appear suddenly and clear promptly when diabetes is well-controlled.

When these bumps appear, they often look like pimples. Unlike pimples, they soon develop a yellowish color. Youll usually find these bumps on the buttocks, thighs, crooks of the elbows, or backs of the knees. They can form anywhere though. No matter where they form, they are usually tender and itchy. The medical name for this skin condition is eruptive xanthomatosis.

Take action
  • Tell your doctor about the bumps because this skin condition appears when you have uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Talk with your doctor about how to better control your diabetes.

What Does A Diabetes Rash Look Like

Diabetes rashes look different depending on the type and cause.

Some diabetes rashes only affect people with diabetes. They usually go away when blood sugar is under control. These rashes include:

  • Blisters : Painless blisters may form on the backs of hands and feet and on the legs and forearms. This rare condition most often affects people who have diabetes-related neuropathy.
  • Diabetes-related dermopathy: Light-brown, round-shaped scaly patches, like age spots, appear on the shins. These harmless spots dont need treatment.
  • Digital sclerosis: Some people with Type 1 diabetes develop hardened, thick, waxy skin on the backs of their hands. The finger joints stiffen, making movement difficult. A related rash is scleredema adultorum of Bushke which is tightness, thickening, and hardening of the back, neck, shoulders and face. There are various treatments that dermatologists can provide for this.
  • Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum : This lower leg rash is more common in women. NLD causes raised, red, shiny patches with a yellow center. Blood vessels may be more noticeable. The rash may be itchy and painful. You should see a dermatologist for treatment options.
  • Diabetes Foot Syndrome: These are ulcers that develop from trauma to the skin. The ulcers can take a long time to heal and there is an increased risk for infection.

Good Blood Sugar Control Treats Digital Sclerosis

About a third of people with type 1 diabetes have digital sclerosis thick, tight, waxy skin that develops on the backs of the hands. The finger joints stiffen and become difficult to move. Sometimes this skin problem occurs on the toes and forehead as well. Rarely, knees, ankles, or elbows may stiffen. Again, good blood glucose control is the only treatment. Moisturizer may help soften the skin.

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When To Call A Doctor

When you have diabetes, your skin needs special attention. Beyond a daily skin care routine, call or visit your doctor right away if you:

  • Dont see an improvement the day after treating a minor problem, like a cut
  • Have discomfort or pain that lasts for more than two days
  • Have a temperature
  • Notice any pus near the wound

When To See Your Doctor

What Happens If You Dont Manage Diabetes?

If you experience any of these symptoms, dont wait for your next appointment. See your regular doctor or foot doctor right away:

  • Pain in your legs or cramping in your buttocks, thighs, or calves during physical activity.
  • Tingling, burning, or pain in your feet.
  • Loss of sense of touch or ability to feel heat or cold very well.
  • A change in the shape of your feet over time.
  • Loss of hair on your toes, feet, and lower legs.
  • Dry, cracked skin on your feet.
  • A change in the color and temperature of your feet.
  • Thickened, yellow toenails.
  • Fungus infections such as athletes foot between your toes.
  • A blister, sore, ulcer, infected corn, or ingrown toenail.

Most people with diabetes can prevent serious foot complications. Regular care at home and going to all doctors appointments are your best bet for preventing foot problems .

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What Do I Need To Know About Diabetes And My Skin

Diabetes can affect every part of your body, including your skin. Diabetes that is not well controlled can damage blood vessels and nerves. Damage to blood vessels can make it hard for blood to flow to tissues and organs. A lack of blood flow to your skin can cause ulcers that are difficult to heal. Skin ulcers are also called sores. People with diabetes can also have more bacterial skin infections than other people. Most skin conditions can be prevented with good blood sugar control. Skin sores can be hard to heal, or become life or limb-threatening, if not treated early.

When To See A Dermatologist

Diabetes can cause many other skin problems. Most skin problems are harmless, but even a minor one can become serious in people who have diabetes. A board-certified dermatologist can recognize skin problems due to diabetes and help you manage them.

Are all dermatologists board certified?

No. See what it takes to become board certified.

ImagesImage 1: Image Courtesy of Clark C. Otley, MD. All Rights Reserved

Images 3, 7, 8, 9: Used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.

Image 2 from DermNetNZ

Some images used with permission of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology

Images 5, 6 and 10: Getty Images

ReferencesCohen Sabban, EN. Cutaneous manifestations of diabetes mellitus from A to Z. Focus session presented at: 74th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology March 4-8, 2016 Washington D.C.

Duff M, Demidova O, et al. Cutaneous manifestations of diabetes mellitus. Clinical Diabetes. 2015 33:40-8.

Kalus AA, Chien AJ, et al. Diabetes mellitus and other endocrine disorders. In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, et al. Fitzpatricks Dermatology in General Medicine . McGraw Hill Medical, New York, 2008:1461-70.

McKinley-Grant L, Warnick M, et al. Cutaneous manifestations of systemic disease. In: Kelly AP and Taylor S. Dermatology for Skin of Color. . The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. China, 2009:481-4.

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What Do You Do If Youre A Diabetic And Cant Get Meds

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Long Term Effects Of Diabetes On The Body

12 Diabetic Skin Problems & Top Signs of Diabetes on The Skin!

In addition to the symptoms, diabetes can cause long term damage to our body. The long term damage is commonly referred to as diabetic complications

Diabetes affects our blood vessels and nerves and therefore can affect any part of the body.

However, certain parts of our body are affected more than other parts.

Diabetic complications will usually take a number of years of poorly controlled diabetes to develop. Complications are not a certainty and can be kept at bay and prevented by maintaining a strong level of control on your diabetes, your blood pressure and cholesterol

These can all be helped by keeping to a healthy diet, avoiding cigarettes and alcohol, and incorporating regular activity into your daily regime in order to keep blood sugar levels within recommended blood glucose level guidelines

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Itchy Dry Skin And Rashes

One of the most common diabetes-related skin symptoms and a sign of elevated glucose levels is dryness. Your lower legs are usually the first to develop dry skin and subsequent itching. Controlling the itch should be a priority. This will allow you to minimize scratching, which is important because diabetics can have a harder time healing and fending off bacteria if the skin is broken or inflamed.2 Stabilizing diabetes and glucose levels can also help reduce dryness and itching.1

Diabetes And Your Skin

If you notice any unusual changes in your skin, it’s important to see your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to preventing serious complications.

Did you know that diabetes can affect many parts of your body, including your skin? In fact, skin changes are one of the most common signs of diabetes. Learn about the signs of diabetes that can appear on your skin.

The skin is the largest organ of the human body. Its packed with nerves and blood vessels that allow us to sense touch, temperature, pain, and pressure. Diabetes can affect the nerves and blood vessels in your body, including those in your skin. Changes in your skin can be a sign that something is going on beneath the surface.

When diabetes affects your skin, its often a sign that your blood sugar levels are too high over time. Some skin changes can appear even before youve been diagnosed with diabetes. Others could be a sign that your diabetes treatment needs to be adjusted. Either way, youll want to make an appointment with a doctor to be screened for diabetes or to talk about adjusting your treatment. They can help you prevent serious complications with your skin and other parts of your body.

Keep reading to learn about 9 skin conditions that can occur with diabetes and what you can do to treat or prevent them.

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How To Get Your Blood Sugar To Go Down

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Diabetes And Skin Tags

Diabetic Dermopathy: Definition and Overview

Skin tags are very common, in fact, half the population will have them at one time or another with obese people being at the highest risk. They are caused by insulin resistance, and can appear individually or in groups. Skin tags are often seen alongside acanthosis nigricans, which youll read about below.

Skin tags can be removed by freezing or burning or by surgically removing them. A better preventative option is to control insulin levels, which is the reason skin tags develop in the first place. Other methods always come with the risk of infection, which can be particularly dangerous for diabetics.

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How Does Diabetes Affect The Skin

We tend to take our skin for granted, trusting that it will always protect us but what happens if we are diabetic? How does diabetes affect the skin is a topic that I had never understood until now.

First, it is important to understand that human skin is more than just our outer layer. It is actually our largest organ and its purpose is multi-functional.

What Are Common Skin Changes That I May See

  • A smooth, dark thickness in the skin on your neck, groin, face, and underarms
  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Skin tags on your eyelids, neck, or underarms
  • Yellow color of your palms, soles of your feet, and nails
  • Dark patches on your shins
  • A constant redness of your face and neck
  • Thick skin on the back of your hands and the top of your feet

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Dry Eyes Nose And Mouth

Your nerves control the glands that keep the mucous membranes in your eyes, nose and mouth moist and healthy. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakenly attacks the beta cells in the pancreas and may also attacks other parts of the body including the mucous membranes which can cause problems.

If you suffer from:Dry eyes, use artificial tears and a prescribed eye cream in the evening

  • A dry nose, try a saline nasal spray which will make your nose more comfortable
  • A dry mouth, you may find that artificial saliva , simply rinsing your mouth or chewing diet gum will help to keep your saliva flowing. Diet gums usually contains sweeteners that arent absorbed by the body so it doesnt affect blood glucose levels or body weight. However, if used excessively, the non-absorbed sugars ferment in the gut and can cause gas and diarrhoea, so these products should be used in moderation.

Dry membranes are not just uncomfortable they can also lead to long-term changes in the eyes, nose and mouth which can cause further damage to these sensitive membranes.

If you are having problems with dryness to the eyes, nose or mouth, talk to your doctor who can offer further advice.

Dry Skin And Infections

Skin Tags (Acrochordons) | Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Dry skin can lead to many major concerns in diabetes. Cracking and peeling results in openings in the skin, allowing bacteria or fungi to enter the body. High levels of sugar in the body are great breeding grounds and reduce your bodys ability to heal itself, increasing the chances an infection may spread.Several different kinds of bacterial infections occur more often in people with diabetes. Among these are:

styes in the glands of the eyelids boils folliculitis of the hair follicles carbuncles very deep infections of the skin and underlying tissue and infections around the nails.

With bacterial infections, you most often first see a redness around the area of the cut or crack, said Matthew G. Garoufalis, DPM, a podiatrist in private practice in Chicago. People with diabetes are at a disadvantage because they often will not feel pain, which can be an early warning that an infection is occurring. As it progresses, you may also see drainage from the wound, and it may become warm to the touch.

Fungal infections also are a concern. Most often, the organism in skin folds is Candida albicans. This is a yeast-like fungus that creates a rash of moist, red areas surrounded by tiny blisters. They occur most often in warm and moist areas. Other common fungal diseases include jock itch, athletes foot, ringworm, and vaginal infections.

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Why Do Some Diabetic Medications Cause Itchy Skin

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Toenails And Excess Skin

For the most part, it is safe for you to do much of your own general work on your feet and hands. If your nails are normal, cutting them straight across should pose no problem. However, if you have an ingrown toenail, it is best to see a podiatrist. The same suggestions hold if you have a fungal infection of the toenail.

The same guidelines are in place for removing excess skin. Careful use of a pumice stone or emery board should pose no problems if your diabetes is in good control and you arent having any nerve concerns.

In most cases, there is no need to use an antibiotic moisturizer. They usually are not only more expensive, but also harsher and destroy the normal flora on your skin that helps protect it.

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