Diabetes has many symptoms which manifest at various stages of the disease. Skin problems are among them and the skin conditions can be quite serious in some cases. It is estimated that about one-third of all the diabetics suffer from any of the many skin disorders.
Whatever you do, do not neglect the early signs because early detection can help in proper treatment of the conditions. The signs may be directly related to diabetes or can be the result of conditions that occur due to diabetes.
The common conditions associated with diabetes are atherosclerosis, acanthosis nigricans, diabetic stiff skin, diabetic dermopathy and diabetic bullae or blisters. Each of these conditions has their own causes, signs and symptoms and treatment.
Common Skin Symptoms of Diabetes
The symptom of this condition, which is caused by thickening of the arteries, is that the skin turns hairless and shiny. The toe is affected. It turns cold and the toenails discolor and thicken. The person also feels pain in the calf muscle after exercising or walking for long time.
This is a common condition of the skin where brown or tan, raised spots appear in some places. They usually occur in the regions of the sides of the neck, groin and armpits. In some cases it is also seen on the elbows, knees and hands.
Diabetic Stiff skin
Diabetic stiff skin or diabetic cheiroarthropathy is the condition where the patient finds difficulty in moving his or her hand joints. The skin at the joints turns waxy, stiffens and gets thickened.
The skin may turn yellowish at these points. The patient may also experience tightening of the tendons of the fingers. As a result the person may find difficulty in bending them.
Diabetic dermopathy is generally noticed in elder patients who have been suffering from diabetes for a long time. Generally, the early signs of diabetic dermopathy start with lesions appearing on the shins. Sometimes such lesions appear on the sides of foot, thighs, forearm, trunk and the scalp.
You will be able to identify these lesions by the round or oval shape of reddish brown color. They are usually scaly in the beginning and then dissipate and then make an indent on the skin. Normally such lesions are visible on both the shins. If multiple lesions are found on the shins and the person is yet to be diagnosed with diabetes, then the time has come to go for a check up as he or she may have already reached an advanced stage of diabetes.
Diabetic blisters, diabetic bullae or bullosis diabeticorum the same thing with various names. These are also lesions but they are like blisters. They appear both on hands and feet. This condition is not very common, but they are directly connected to diabetes. Anyone from 18 to 80 may get it. The blisters can be tiny, less than a centimeter or they can be as big as 15 to 17 cm. They also do not have any fixed shape. There are two types of blisters – one is filled with clear, sterile liquid while the other is filled with blood.