One in three diabetics has skin health problems. In fact, diseases affecting the skin are often the first clear sign that a person has diabetes. Fortunately, most skin diseases can easily be prevented or treated if caught early.
Some of the issues listed below can affect anyone regardless of their health, but if you have diabetes, you are more likely to develop it. Among the diseases most common for anyone are bacterial infections, fungal infections, and irritation (pruritus).
But there are also skin problems that usually only occur in people with diabetes, so if you’ve already had this diagnosis, you will need to pay close attention to their prevention or the first symptoms you notice. If you notice changes in your skin but haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes yet, see your doctor right away for tests.
There are several types of bacterial infections in diabetics:
- Inflammation of the glands in the eyelids
- Folliculitis (hair root infections)
- Abscesses (infections deep under the skin)
- Toenail infections
The inflamed tissue is often hot, swollen, red, and painful. Many different organisms can cause diabetic skin infections, the most common of which is Staphylococcus. In the past, bacterial infections were life-threatening, especially for people with diabetes. But they are no longer a problem today, thanks to antibiotics and better ways to control blood sugar.
On the other hand, even today, people with diabetes suffer from bacterial infection more than others. See a doctor as soon as you notice a skin infection, especially since antibiotics must be prescribed by a doctor. Moreover, doctors believe that if you take good care of your skin, you can reduce the risk of these types of infections. See below for tips on preventing these situations.
Often times, diabetics with yeast infection will have Candida albicans infection. This fungus causes itchy rashes on moist areas. For example, in folds of skin where you can sweat, between the toes, if you get wet and walk with wet feet all day, in the corners of the mouth, under the foreskin (in uncircumcised men) vaginally, under the armpits and the groin area, etc. The affected area is filled with red spots and small white blisters. If you suspect you have a fungus, see a doctor.
Itching and irritation
Diabetes causes itching, which is often found on the surface of the skin. It can be caused by a fungal infection (fungi), as well as dry skin or poor circulation. To reduce the risk, avoid hot baths, use a pH-neutral soap, wipe with a towel after showering and use moisturizers.
Skin diseases that suffer from diabetes
Diabetic dermatopathy – Diabetes can affect peripheral nerves, leading to another skin problem called diabetic skin. Light brown scaly patches may appear on the skin. These spots are oval or round and some people mistake them for age spots.
This disorder often occurs on the front of both feet. The legs may not be affected equally. The spots will not harm or erode you, so this problem is considered harmless and some experts believe it does not need treatment.
• Lipodystrophy – also called diabetes, this is another skin problem caused by changes in the blood vessels. The condition causes spots similar to those found in diabetic dermatopathy, but these spots are fewer, larger, and more radiant. It can range from reddish brown to yellow and build up over time.
Although the causes are not completely known, it is assumed that the skin is no longer producing collagen, and that the walls of blood vessels become thickened and result from fat deposits. Over time, the spots can become irritating to the eyes, and purple blood vessels under the skin become more visible, eat out or hurt. There are treatments but they are not satisfactory.
Sebaceous necrosis occurs in a very small number (0.3%) of people with diabetes, and women are more likely to develop it. As long as the wounds are not broken or bothersome, they do not need to be treated. However, if you have open wounds, see your doctor immediately for treatment.
Allergic reactions – Allergic skin reactions can occur in response to the administration of drugs such as insulin or diabetes pills. If you suspect you have had an allergic reaction to a drug, you should see your doctor for a change of medication. Always be careful if redness, irritation, or swelling appears on the skin where you injected the insulin.
Acanthosis nigricans – a condition caused by the formation of brown or black spots on the skin, especially due to people suffering from insulin resistance. They usually appear on the sides of the neck, abdomen, armpits, and groin areas. Sometimes it can occur on the hands, elbows and knees, and it can even affect an enlarged area of the skin.
Acanthosis nigricans is generally more severe in people who are overweight. The best remedy is losing weight. Some creams can help mask or fade the spots.
Bullous Diabetes – This skin problem rarely appears with blisters (also called diabetic bullae), that is, lesions that can occur on the back of the fingers and toes and sometimes on the feet or forearms. These lesions resemble pimples and usually occur in people with diabetic neuropathy in advanced or complex cases of diabetes.
Sometimes it is large in size but is painless and there is no rash around it. It usually heals spontaneously within 2-6 weeks without scarring, but it tends to reappear in the same place. The only possible treatment is to keep your blood sugar levels under control within the parameters recommended by your doctor. If these areas become infected, medical attention is required.
Explosive xanthoma – another condition caused by uncontrolled diabetes and characterized by spread of xanthoma: small, pea-sized yellow tumors on the skin. Each lump has a red aura and can be itchy. The tumors most often appear on the back of the hands, feet, arms, legs, and buttocks.
The disorder usually occurs in young adults with type 1 diabetes. Patients often have high levels of cholesterol and fats in the blood. As with pimples, these swellings disappear when blood sugar control is restored.
Digital Sclerosis – Sometimes diabetics develop a thick, waxy look on the back of their hands. This thickening is also observed on the skin on the toes or the forehead. In conjunction with this thickening, the finger joints may become stiff and less mobile. Rarely, stiffness may affect the knees, ankles, or elbow joints.
Digital sclerosis occurs in about a third of people with type 1 diabetes. The only possible treatment is to keep your blood sugar level under control.
• Diffuse annular granuloma – appears as a patch of skin that resembles a rounded or raised raised area of the skin. These rashes are most common on prominent parts of the body (such as the fingers, back of the hand, or ears), but this is not a rule. Formations can be red, brownish-red or brown in color. Your doctor may recommend treatment because there are medications that can help.
Prevention of skin problems when you have diabetes
A third of diabetics suffer from one of the conditions mentioned above. While the percentage may seem high, the good part is that most people with diabetes, the remaining two-thirds, do not have these problems. Preventive measures and good maintenance Delay or stop installation. Here’s what you can do to prevent skin diseases.
• Keep your blood sugar levels under control – no matter what type of diabetes you have, your doctor’s recommendation will be to adjust your blood sugar level between certain parameters. By doing this, you will prevent blood vessels from clumping or changing, which will help nourish the skin tissue. And if you keep your peripheral nerves in good shape, it will also preserve the sensitivity of your skin and your skin’s ability to regenerate.
• If your skin is dry, take care of it – If your skin is dry (in general, in certain situations, or on certain parts of the body) use a moisturizing soap or cream after showering. Avoid getting the cream between the toes or in the folds of the skin, as drinking too much can trigger fungal infections. Do not scratch dry skin as this may open up wounds that may become infected more easily in your case. Keep your skin hydrated, especially in the cold season, when it is exposed to more dryness.
• Keep your skin clean and dry – wash all parts of your body well with pH-neutral soap, then dry with a well-absorbed towel before reattaching it. Pay special attention to the feet and areas that sweat easily: in the groin, axial, under the breast, skin folds. Avoid bathing in hot water.
Take care of your wounds promptly – open wounds are more prone to infection, so they should be disinfected as soon as possible. If you cut yourself, small wounds can be washed with soap and water and then covered with a sterile pad. You cannot use an antibiotic cream unless your doctor tells you that you can. See a doctor right away if you have a burn, a deeper wound, or an infection. Follow your feet in space every day to see if you have any nails, cuts, or other problems that you can’t feel.