First visible warning signs of diabetes? skin problems

Diabetes is one of the most common non-communicable diseases in the world and also one of the most common causes of disability in the world. The number of diabetic patients keeps increasing every year with India alone having more than 77 million diabetic patients. It is estimated that the number of people with diabetes will increase to 134 million by 2045.

With people of all ages at risk for type 2 diabetes, extra caution is advised. Early prevention can mean the difference between more chronic problems and a short period of suffering from the disease. With so many symptoms, it can be difficult to catch diabetes, especially if you don’t know what to look for. The first visible signs of diabetes are skin problems, according to the American Diabetes Association.

When your body doesn’t respond to insulin or doesn’t produce enough of it, it can’t manage blood sugar. As a result, the level of glucose in the blood becomes constantly high, which is called hyperglycemia. Being hyperglycemic can gradually damage your body. These factors lead to various skin conditions, which are also warning signs of diabetes. If you have it, you should see a doctor or dermatologist for immediate examination.

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Yellow, reddish, or brown patches on the skin

This skin condition is known as Necrobiosis Lipoidica, which causes solid pimple-like bumps on your skin. As it progresses, it turns into patches of swollen, hard skin. These spots turn yellow, reddish and brown. The patches are itchy and painful. You can also see your blood vessels through them.

Darker areas of skin that look like velvet

Also known as acanthosis nigricans, this skin condition creates dark patches of velvety skin on the neck, back, armpits, groin, or any other place where there is too much insulin in the blood. It is a common sign of pre-diabetes.

Hard and thickened skin

Also known as digital sclerosis, it creates thick, hard skin on the fingers, toes, or both. They first appear on the back of the hand and gradually spread to the forearms and upper arms when diabetes is uncontrolled.

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skin tags

People with high blood sugar tend to get skin tags. It is a group of small skin tissues hanging from a rod. They are non-cancerous and medically called skin tags.

Dull and red raised area

Medically known as Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum. It creates dull, red raised areas similar to dermopathy but in larger and deeper spaces. The areas are super itchy and painful. Over time, they begin to look like a shiny scar with visible blood vessels.


This skin condition is quite common, but people with type 2 diabetes are at high risk of getting this skin condition. They appear as discolored patches on the skin that are scaly and itchy.

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