Do you have diabetes? Do you know that diabetes is the fastest growing long-term (chronic) disease affecting millions of people across the globe? In the US alone, there are more than 25 million people suffering from diabetes. Among which 75% of them have type 2 diabetes which is linked to obesity or being overweight. Researchers believe that the diabetes epidemic will increase, and by 2050, one in every three people will have diabetes. With such a vast number affected by diabetes, about a third of this group develop skin problems. If you keep proper control of your blood sugar (glucose), it can prevent diabetes, skin problems and many other diabetes symptoms from happening in the first place.
In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), most skin problems can be a warning sign of diabetes, especially in those who are undiagnosed. The good news is that you can prevent most of the skin problems with diabetes and can also treat them easily if they are caught early. If you keep proper control of your blood sugar (glucose) it can prevent diabetes, skin problems, and many other diabetes symptoms from happening in the first place.
Are You Suffering From Skin Problems Related to Diabetes Symptoms?
Many of you with diabetes could have a skin diseases caused or affected by diabetes. Any kind of skin problem can be the first sign that you have diabetes. Diabetes can affect every part of your body, including the skin.
Most of these skin conditions can affect anyone. Examples of these conditions include fungal infections, bacterial infections, and itching. However, people with diabetes also are more prone to getting certain other conditions. These include necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum, diabetic dermopathy and eruptive xanthomatosis.
It is important to note that diabetes skin problems can happen to a healthy person as well. However, people who have diabetes generally have a much higher risk. In order to prevent and treat diabetes skin problems, the first step is to control your blood glucose level. When diabetes affects your skin, causing conditions like skin sores or diabetes rash, it is an indication that your blood sugar levels are too high.
If you notice skin problems, it is better to talk to your doctor. If you have not been diagnosed, get your diabetes test done immediately. Work with your doctor or dermatologist and learn ways to control your diabetes with diet, exercise, and medications, if needed. Some diabetes skin problems do not look too serious but could lead to future complications if left untreated.
In most cases controlling diabetes can help with related skin issues. In fact, if you are a diabetic patient, you should take care of your skin and health in general. For your skin, moisturization, checking feet and legs daily for any blisters, sores, and skin breaks are extremely important. Any kind of nail and foot fungus could lead to skin cracks and breaks which would allow bacteria to enter and cause infection.
Diabetes skin problems include:
1 Bacterial Skin Infections Need Immediate
Anyone can get bacterial skin infections, but if you have diabetes, you are more prone to them. Bacterial skin problems generally tend to trouble patients who have eyelid styes, boils, nail infections, inflamed hair follicles and carbuncles (it is a deep infection of the skin and the tissue underneath).
If you have a bacterial skin infection, the area around your infection will be swollen, red and painful. Treatment with antibiotic pills and creams will usually clear up these skin problems.
2 Fungal Infections Are Common With Diabetes
If you have diabetes, you are susceptible to fungal infections, especially one disease called Candida albicans. This yeast-like fungus creates a red, itchy skin rash, frequently surrounded by scales and small blisters.
The disease is often found in warm, moist areas like between the moist folds of your skin – your toes, armpits, under the breast and in the corners of your mouth. Other fungal infections common to diabetics include jock itch, ringworm, athlete’s foot, and vaginal yeast infections. Talk to your dermatologist or doctor about the best medication to cure and kill fungal skin problems.
3 Poor Blood Flow Results in Itchy Skin
Itchy skin can have many causes, as it is a common complaint even among people who do not have diabetes. If you have diabetes, a yeast infection, dry skin, or even poor circulation can cause itchy skin. Dry skin or poor circulation – both these conditions are more likely when you have diabetes.
When you have poor blood flow, your lower legs might be the itchiest part of your body. What can you do to stop your skin from crawling? It helps if you limit your time in the shower, wash with mild soap, and moisturize after you bathe. You can use lotion to moisturize your dry skin but avoid applying it between your toes.
4 Vitiligo Causes Skin to Lose Color
Vitiligo is an easily noticeable skin problem in which your skin cells that make melanin are destroyed. This could lead to irregular, blotchy patches that are often seen on the hands, face, or chest.
Experts believe it is an autoimmune condition like type 1 diabetes that causes this disorder, though the exact cause of vitiligo is unknown. There is no cure, but light therapy, medicated creams, UV light, and steroids can be used to manage vitiligo. If you have the condition, use sunscreen to protect the affected skin patches. This is because depigmented skin has no natural sun protection.
5 Diabetes Symptoms Can Cause Neuropathy-Related Skin Problems
If you have high levels of diabetes, it can cause nerve damage called neuropathy. This is a common diabetes complication. At times the damage might cause a loss of sensation in your feet. These blisters develop if you step on something and injure your foot.
These sores will start with a small scrape and become big as the poor blood circulation makes it harder for the wound to heal. A foot ulcer is an open skin sore that has developed and got infected. Take a look at your feet every day to make sure they are not injured in any way. You need to check your feet for sores every day and ask your doctor how to best treat them.
6 Diabetic Blisters May Heal on Their Own
It is rare, but sometimes people with diabetes might notice blisters (bullosis diabeticorum) erupting suddenly. These blisters occur on the backs of fingers, toes, hands, feet, and sometimes on the legs or forearms. These skin sores look quite similar to burn blisters.
If you have diabetic neuropathy, you are at higher risk of developing these blisters. They are usually white. These blisters might look scary, but they usually do not hurt. Here is the good news. They are usually painless and heal on their own in a few days. The only treatment for this diabetes skin problem is to keep your glucose under control.
7 Out-of-Control Diabetes Symptoms Causes Eruptive Xanthomatosis
Uncontrolled diabetes can cause eruptive xanthomatosis. These breakouts are firm, yellow, pea-like skin growths. These bumps often have a red halo around them and might be itchy. But they are not contagious. You can usually find them on the backs of hands, arms, feet and buttocks.
Young males with type 1 diabetes are affected. It all the more strikes young men who have high cholesterol and very high fat in the blood. Your best remedy is to get the blood glucose levels down in order to treat these skin sores. You should talk to your doctor as he may prescribe drugs to lower your triglycerides and cholesterol. That should help ease the bumps as well.
8 Good Blood Sugar Control Treats Digital Sclerosis
More than one-third of people with type 1 diabetes have digital sclerosis. However, it can happen with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. A thick, tight, waxy skin develops on the backs of the hands. Those patches may also spread to your arms, upper back, and shoulders. The finger joints could stiffen and become difficult to move.
In severe cases, you might even have trouble moving your joints and need physical therapy. Sometimes this skin problem can occur on your toes and forehead as well. Rarely will you find your knees, ankles, or elbows being stiff? Good blood glucose control is the only treatment. Using a moisturizer may help soften your skin.
9 Disseminated Granuloma Annulare Causes Skin Itching
This skin problem causes bumpy, raised, or ring-shaped spots that are skin-colored or red-brown. Disseminated granuloma annulare most often occurs on your fingers and ears. Some of you might have a mild itching. Your doctor might not be sure how this condition is linked to diabetes. They might also not know what causes these tiny red bumps around your hands, upper arms, ankles or feet. It may be a response to some kind of inflammation.
Typically, you would not require medical treatment as the rashes usually disappear on their own without leaving scars. You will not need treatment if your symptoms are mild. Your doctor might try to treat it with injections or creams. But ask your doctor if topical steroids, like hydrocortisone, could improve your skin condition.
10 Acanthosis Nigricans(Diabetes Symptoms) Turns Skin Dark and Velvety
Acanthosis nigricans cause skin problems in your body folds. At times you might mistake it for a tan or brown stain and try to scrub it off. The condition turns your skin creases dark, thick, and velvety. It could itch and smell, too. It could happen on the back of your neck, groin, folds of elbows, knuckles, knees and armpits.
This diabetes skin problem develops in people who are very overweight. There is no cure, but the only option is losing weight which might improve your skin’s appearance. If you happen to notice the skin problem and haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes, discuss it with your doctor immediately. Acanthosis nigricans usually appear before diabetes strikes.
How to Prevent Skin Conditions Related to Diabetes Symptoms?
You basically need to keep your diabetes under control in order to prevent the skin-related complications of diabetes. Proper skin care also can help reduce your risk of skin-related problems.
Consider the following tips for good skin care if you have diabetes:
- Keep your diabetes under control.
- Keep your skin clean and dry.
- Make sure you do not have any red, dry or sore spots that could become infected.
- Do not bathe in hot water and do not take long baths.
- Keep your skin moist by using a cream after you wash.
- Apply lip balm to prevent chapped lips.
- Try to limit the products you use on your skin to decrease chances of infection.
- Treat cuts right away.
- Drink lots of fluids, especially water.
- To protect your skin from the sun, use sunscreens.
- Wear all-cotton white underwear.