Diabetes is the condition, where the person gets elevated blood glucose levels. This increase in blood glucose can be either because of inefficiency of the body to produce insulin, or due to inefficiency of the body cells to respond to insulin. Diabetes affects almost every part, of the body of person, suffering from this condition.
Some of the most prominent symptoms are observed over the skin of the patient. In fact, it has been observed in studies that as much as 33% of the total population, in the world, suffering from diabetes, has to suffer from different types of skin disorders.
The symptoms of diabetes, on skin are mostly curable, especially, if they are detected early. So, anyone having a diabetic condition should take these symptoms seriously and get them cured, as early as possible. The skin related symptoms of diabetes may also act as warning signals, to help patients become aware of their fluctuating blood sugar levels.
Skin Related Symptoms of Diabetes
In many diabetic patients, the skin gets dark at many places. This is caused due to hyper pigmentation and occurs mainly in the places, where the skins meet, like, neck, armpits, groin, and under the breasts.
This symptom appears during the pre diabetic period and becomes more prominent with time.
Due to diabetes, the smaller blood vessels supplying blood and oxygen to the skin get damaged. This results into the formation of small scaly patches of reddish to brown or light brown color, over the skin. These patches mostly occur in the front portion of the legs and are harmless. They neither itch, not cause irritation, and therefore, they do not demand medical treatment also.
Damaging of Blood Vessels
The diabetes leads to damaging of the blood vessels and this damage is visible in the form of different skin conditions.
Other than diabetic dermopathy, damage in blood vessels can also cause Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum or NLD, where large and shiny scaly patches develop over the skin. Poor circulation of blood due to damage of blood vessels also leads to itchiness and numbness of skin.
Fungal Infections on skin
The diabetics have high sugar level in their blood, providing a perfect medium for the growth of fungus and other pathogens. These fungal infections are characterized by the present of sore spots and rashes, which are surrounded by small blisters on all sides. The most prevalent fungal infection in diabetic patients is caused by Candida albicans.
This fungus mostly develops in moist and warm areas regions of the skin, like, around the fingernails, between toes, in armpits, in groin area, under foreskin of male genitalia, and also in corners of the mouth. Other fungal infections that may be found in the skin of diabetic patients, include, athlete’s foot, jock itch and ring worm. Patients having any of these symptoms of fungal infection, need to immediately rush to the doctor and get proper medications.
Bacterial Infections on Skin
Bacterial infections are also very prominent, on the skin of diabetic patients, due to high blood sugar levels. These infections are mostly characterized by inflammation of the affected tissue, which is red in color and very painful.
The most common bacterial infections found in the skin of diabetic patients, include, boils, infection of glands present in the eyelids, inflammation of a certain region of skin and tissues below it also called as carbuncles, folliculitis (infection in the hair follicles) and inflammation around the nails. In case of these bacterial infections also, patient needs to immediately consult his/her physician.
Blisters are not a regular sight in the diabetic patients, but, some patients may develop blisters in their forearms, feet, toes, hands and fingers. These blister resemble those blisters that are developed due to burns and can be of any size, from small to large. These blisters are mostly painless and develop, when major fluctuations occur in the blood sugar levels of the patient. These spontaneously heal after some time, once the blood sugar level returns to normal.
In many diabetic patients, the skin at the back of the digits, i.e., forehand, hands and toes, becomes thick and waxy. This condition is known as digital sclerosis, and it makes the joints of affected body parts (mostly fingers) stiff and incapable of normal movement.
This condition is mainly found in the patients suffering from type 1 diabetes and can be controlled by normalizing blood sugar levels.
This condition of the skin is mainly found, in the males of younger age group, suffering from type 1 diabetes. In this condition, small and firm enlargements develop in the skin. These enlargements or bumps are yellow in color, having a red halo around it. These bumps cause itching, and mostly appear on skin of the feet, back of the hand, arms, buttocks and legs. These enlargements disappear with the control in blood sugar levels.
Dryness of the Skin
Due to high glucose levels, the fluid from the skin cells evaporates, leaving the skin dry. This dryness is also caused due to infection of pathogens, like, fungus, bacteria and virus.
Diabetic patients need to take special care of their skin, and keep on sanitizing and moisturizing it, to prevent it from drying.
In diabetes, itching of the skin is very common, and is caused by various factors. These factors include different types of infections, dryness of the skin, and also allergies. Allergies surface in the form of itching, in diabetic patients, and other skin conditions also normally lead to itching.
Atherosclerosis is the thickening of arteries, and a common occurrence in diabetic patients. This condition affects the legs of the patients and results into hairless, shiny, thin and cold skin. The toenails also thicken and lose color. This is an extremely painful condition, and patients need to take medical advice.
It looks like skin is the worst sufferer in the patients suffering from diabetes. But, thankfully, you can control these skin conditions, by using proper medication and remedies. Also, as you may have noticed, many skin conditions are result of temporary sugar imbalance, so, if you are diabetic and want to avoid such uncomfortable conditions, try to keep your sugar in control.