How diabetes can affect your skin; 13 symptoms to watch out for | Health - Hindustan Times
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How diabetes can affect your skin; 13 symptoms to watch out for

By, New Delhi
May 02, 2023 01:34 PM IST

Skin issue in diabetes is at times the first symptom of the metabolic disorder. Here are 13 ways diabetes can affect your skin.

Diabetes, the chronic illness that makes it difficult for the body to use the sugar it gets from the food due. The elevated blood sugar level in the bloodstream can damage heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, nerves are more over a period of time. Regular medication and lifestyle changes can keep the disease in control and keep complications in check. Diabetes can also affect your skin. In fact, changes in your skin can at time be the first symptom of diabetes. Having the metabolic disorder can make existing skin problems worse and also lead to new skin issues. (Also read: 5 benefits of losing weight for people with diabetes)

Diabetes can lead to damage to your blood vessels and nerves which may reduce circulation and blood flow to the skin(Freepik)
Diabetes can lead to damage to your blood vessels and nerves which may reduce circulation and blood flow to the skin(Freepik)

Diabetes can lead to damage to your blood vessels and nerves which may reduce circulation and blood flow to the skin. Decreased blood circulation can lead to changes in collagen in turn affecting skin's texture, appearance, and ability to heal. One may have itching, thickening of skin, yellow or brown patches, blisters, skin infections among other skin problems with diabetes.

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"Diabetes is a chronic disease and one of the fastest growing ailments in the world. And based on the current situation, it is predicted that in just a few years about one on three people will be suffering from Type II diabetes. While researchers and experts are still looking for a permanent cure for the diabetes, most people tend to miss the indications for diabetes. Knowing the symptoms and effects of the disease can help you prevent it from getting serious," says Dr. Rinky Kapoor, Consultant Dermatologist, Cosmetic Dermatologist & Dermato-Surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics.

Dr Rinky on common symptoms of diabetes on skin to watch out for:

1. Bacterial infections on the skin

If your sugar levels are high then you are more prone to bacterial injections particularly on the eyelids in the form of sties and boils, nail infections and deep skin infections. These infections are usually painful with red and swollen appearance.

2. Necrobiosis Lipoidica

These are patches on skin that are yellow, red, or brown in colour. They usually start as small bumps and progress to bigger patches that are hard and swollen to touch. The sin gets a shiny appearance and becomes itchy and painful.

3. Dark velvety skin

This is one of the most common and first symptoms of pre diabetes. Dark, velvety patches of skin appear on neck, armpits and groins and other areas of skin folds. These are also called Acanthosis Nigricans (AN) and their appearance is attributed to being overweight.

4. Diabetic blisters

Also, medically known as bullosis diabetricorum, these appear suddenly on the skin in the form of many small blisters or one large blisters. They can appear on hands, feet, toes, back of fingers, legs, forearms. Their appearance is painless but looks like you are suffering from serious burn.

5. Digital sclerosis

This symptom makes your skin, tight and waxy. You will notice it on the back of the hands and usually the fingers and joints become difficult to move. This condition also affects forearms, shoulders, neck, and upper back and sometimes even on face, shoulders, and chest. When it affects your legs, it can become difficult to bend your legs or move your toes.

6. Spots on shins

These appear in the form or spots or lines that cause depressions on the skin. Also known as diabetic dermopathy, this condition is painless but still needs attention for good diabetic treatment.

7. Eruptive Xanthomatosis

If you have diabetes, then the small reddish yellow-coloured bumps appear on elbows, and back of the knees. They can be itchy and usually affects young men with high cholesterol. They appear suddenly and disappear like that too.

8. Uncomfortably dry and itchy skin

Dry skin comes as a common symptom of dry skin. high blood sugar levels can rob the skin of its moisture cause extreme dryness and itchiness. This can further cause the skin to become lacerated and even cause serious infections.

Dr. Anurag Aggarwal, Consultant-Internal Medicine, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad further shares more symptoms of diabetes on the skin one must notice:

9. Diabetic Dermopathy

This are small, less than 1 cm, atrophic depressions, macules, or papules well-demarcated on the pretibia. They are considered to be a sign of insulin resistance. These are self-resolving within 1–2 years, leaving atrophic hypopigmentation at the site.

10. Fungal infections like candidiasis

It is caused mainly Candida albicans ,white adherent exudate and satellite pustule are seen over red plaques. Vulvovaginal candidiasis is most commonly reported followed by perianal candidiasis. The simple cure is to get the right treatment and get a blood check done.

11. Rubeosis Facei

It is a microangiopathic complication causing flushing of the face. A common skin manifestation but usually missed. Strict glycemic control is warranted.

12. Epidermal Necrolysis/Stevens-Johnson Syndrome

It is a rare necrotizing condition of mucocutaneous region and a life-threatening emergenc DPP-4 inhibitor mainly sitagliptin has been associated. Treatment involves stopping all the drugs started in last 8 weeks.

13. Sclerederma Diabeticorum

Sclerederma diabeticorum are thickened plaques, which are indurated, erythematous occurring mainly on the upper back and neck. It is thought to be caused due to increased stimulation of insulin and nonenzymatic glycosylation of collagen steroids, methotrexate, and ultraviolet light phototherapy are used for managing it.

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