Diabetes: Warning Signs of Hyperglycemia That Appear on the Skin | Health

With each passing day, each of us is at greater risk for diabetes than just a few years ago. No longer the disease of the elderly, diabetes is diagnosed in children, adolescents, young people – basically people of all ages. Diabetes cases are increasing across the globe and India has an estimated 77 million diabetics, which is expected to reach over 134 million by 2045. As our modern lifestyle leaves us with little time for the physical activity and preparing healthy, nutritious food at home could be a deadly combination for the development of diabetes that requires lifelong management and puts us at serious risk of life-threatening complications related to kidneys, heart disease , nerve diseases and oral health, to name a few. (Also read: 7 winter superfoods for people with diabetes)

Diagnosing the disease at an early stage and starting medication while introducing lifestyle changes is the key to fighting diabetes. Apart from the usual symptoms like frequent urination, feeling hungry, feeling thirsty, weight loss, numb hands or feet, there are several signs that one can spot on the skin.

If you have certain skin conditions or conditions, chances are they are the result of uncontrolled sugar levels.

Dr. Rinky Kapoor, Consultant Dermatologist, Aesthetic Dermatologist and Dermato-Surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics, talks about diabetic skin conditions and their common symptoms to be aware of:

1. WARM, SWOLLEN AND RED SKIN

This could be due to bacterial infections which can cause the skin to become inflamed and the skin to become warm, swollen, red and painful. The most common bacterial infection is staph infection. Styes, boils, folliculitis, carbuncles, and nail infections are examples of common bacterial infections.

2. rashes and blisters

These may be due to fungal infections. Yeast-like fungal infections caused by Candida Albicans are the most common fungal infections in people with diabetes. This fungus can cause itching, blistering and scaling in moist, warm folds of skin. The most common infection sites are under the breasts, fingernails, between fingers and toes, armpits, etc. Fungal infections include vaginal infections, jock itch, athlete’s foot and ringworm etc.

3. ITCHING

It is the most common type of skin problem with diabetes. This is mainly due to poor circulation, dry skin and infection, especially in the lower parts of the legs.

4. DARK, VELVET AND TANNED SKIN

This condition is called Acanthosis Nigricans. It causes dark, velvety, tanned areas of skin. Thickened, hyperpigmented skin is one of the first signs of diabetes in a person. Patches of gray, black, and brown skin that are velvety to the touch may appear in the neck, armpits, groin, hands, elbows, and knees.

5. LIGHT BROWN AND SCALED SPOTS

Diabetic dermopathy presents as light brown scaly patches on the skin that are barely noticeable and often mistaken for sunspots. The most common place of occurrence is the lower legs and around the shins. Dermopathy causes tiny depressions on the skin and is very common in men and women with diabetes. Dermopathy occurs because high levels of insulin damage nerves and blood vessels.

6. PSORIASIS

Although this condition can affect anyone, people with type 2 diabetes are at high risk of getting psoriasis. This infection causes discolored patches on the skin that are scaly and itchy.

7. DIABETIC SCLERODERMA

Common symptoms include thickening in the upper body, such as the upper back and back of the neck areas.

8. NECROBIOSIS LIPOIDICA DIABETICORUM

This skin condition first begins to appear as a dull, red, raised area and resembles that of dermopathy, but is larger, deeper, and spaced out. These areas can become itchy and painful and start to look like a shiny scar with visible blood vessels. When left untreated, the skin becomes itchy and painful.

9. ALLERGIES

Rashes, depressions, bumps are common allergic reactions caused by diabetes treatments.

10. DIABETIC BULBS

Although rare, diabetic blisters often occur in patients who already have diabetic neuropathy. These blisters can appear on the fingers, hands, toes, legs, feet, etc. They heal on their own.

11. ERUPTIVE XANTHOMATOSIS

This skin condition occurs when diabetes is at uncontrolled levels. Symptoms include round, yellow bumps on the skin that can be itchy and red. They usually appear in patients with type 1 diabetes on the backs of the hands, feet, arms, legs, and buttocks.

12. DIGITAL SCLEROSIS

This condition is characterized by thick, waxy skin on the backs of the hands and it is tight. If left untreated, finger joints become stiff and difficult to move. It can also develop on the face, shoulders, and chest.

13. DIABETIC ULCERS

These are due to poor circulation and nerve damage due to high levels of sugar in the body. High insulin levels make it difficult for wounds to heal, especially in the feet. Open sores are called diabetic ulcers. These open sores can cause permanent damage and even require amputation if left untreated.

SKIN CARE TIPS FOR DIABETES

All of these skin conditions can be easily managed with little care. Keeping diabetes well managed allows the body to easily fight off harmful bacteria and other infections. Other things a person with diabetes should be aware of are:

• Keep skin clean and dry at all times.

• Do not use hot baths or bubble baths on dry skin. Avoid hot showers at all costs.

• Avoid putting lotions and creams between the toes.

• Treat any minor cuts or injuries immediately. Consult a doctor in case of cuts, burns or major skin infections.

• Consult the dermatologist if you have significant skin problems that seem to be spreading.

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