Posted on by Anabelle Savion

 

 

Diabetes is a progressive and chronic condition that affects every part of the body, and skin is no exception. In diabetes, skin conditions occur due to metabolic disturbances that cause changes in microcirculation, skin innervation, and immune responses. Some of the skin conditions in diabetes are unspecific, like a fungal infection, while others are more characteristic of the condition, like diabetic dermopathy or eruptive xanthomatosis.

General skin conditions

Bacterial infections – Bacterial infections are common in diabetes, since those with the disease have damaged skin innervation, damaged immunity, and live with chronic inflammation, thus such a person more prone to skin infections. Even a minute cut may turn into a chronic non-healing ulcer. Those with diabetes may develop boils, folliculitis, carbuncles, and infections of nails. Staphylococcal infection is the most common reason behind such eruptions.

Fungal infections - People with diabetes may develop itchy skin due to a yeast-like fungus called Candida albicans. This fungal disease most commonly occurs in the moist parts of skin areas like under the breasts, in the mouth, between the fingers, and in armpits and groins. Athlete's foot is also common among those living with diabetes.

Diabetes-specific skin conditions

Diabetic dermopathy- a common condition in prolonged diabetes occurs due to damage caused to small blood vessels of the skin. A person living with diabetes may develop brown scaly patches in the front of the legs. These patches are painless and in fact completely symptomless, thus they rarely require any specific treatment. Instead, better control of diabetes helps in controlling them.

Acanthosis Nigricans - This is a condition characterized by the development of dark-colored patches that are slightly raised. These patches usually occur on the hands, knees, and elbows. They are more common among the overweight individuals, and often weight reduction is the best treatment.

Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum (NLD) - This condition looks similar to diabetic dermopathy, but is more severe and is characterized by fewer, but more profound and larger spots. NLD is caused due to vascular changes in diabetes. Unlike diabetic dermopathy, NLD patches may become scaly, and in rare cases, they may even crack. They do not require treatment unless they break or get infected.

Diabetic blisters (Bullosis diabeticorum)- These are a formation of burn like blisters, that are painless and would heal in about 2-3 weeks. These blisters occur primarily due to neuropathy. Fortunately, such blisters will not leave a scar, and the only care that is required is to keep the skin clean so that they do not get infected at any stage. Bringing blood sugar level under control is the primary treatment of it.

Eruptive xanthomatosis - They are mostly an indicator of poorly controlled diabetes and thus are more common in those with type 1 diabetes with severe dyslipidemia (high blood cholesterol and triglycerides). It’s a condition characterized by the formation of yellow, pea-like enlargements at the back of hands, feet, buttocks. Only effective treatment of this condition is diabetes control and treatment of dyslipidemia.

Digital sclerosis- This is more common in type 1 diabetes. It is characterized by the development of thick, tight, and waxy skin on the back of the hands, making the person’s joints stiffer.

Those with diabetes are at increased risk of skin diseases. They should take extra care to keep the skin moisturized and clean, to avoid hot baths, use mild shampoos and soaps, and take special care of specific areas like armpits and groins.  Those with diabetes should develop a habit of regular skin inspection, as many conditions may develop without any symptoms and thus may go unnoticed.

 

 

 

Diabetes is a progressive and chronic condition that affects every part of the body, and skin is no exception. In diabetes, skin conditions occur due to metabolic disturbances that cause changes in microcirculation, skin innervation, and immune responses. Some of the skin conditions in diabetes are unspecific, like a fungal infection, while others are more characteristic of the condition, like diabetic dermopathy or eruptive xanthomatosis.

General skin conditions

Bacterial infections – Bacterial infections are common in diabetes, since those with the disease have damaged skin innervation, damaged immunity, and live with chronic inflammation, thus such a person more prone to skin infections. Even a minute cut may turn into a chronic non-healing ulcer. Those with diabetes may develop boils, folliculitis, carbuncles, and infections of nails. Staphylococcal infection is the most common reason behind such eruptions.

Fungal infections - People with diabetes may develop itchy skin due to a yeast-like fungus called Candida albicans. This fungal disease most commonly occurs in the moist parts of skin areas like under the breasts, in the mouth, between the fingers, and in armpits and groins. Athlete's foot is also common among those living with diabetes.

Diabetes-specific skin conditions

Diabetic dermopathy- a common condition in prolonged diabetes occurs due to damage caused to small blood vessels of the skin. A person living with diabetes may develop brown scaly patches in the front of the legs. These patches are painless and in fact completely symptomless, thus they rarely require any specific treatment. Instead, better control of diabetes helps in controlling them.

Acanthosis Nigricans - This is a condition characterized by the development of dark-colored patches that are slightly raised. These patches usually occur on the hands, knees, and elbows. They are more common among the overweight individuals, and often weight reduction is the best treatment.

Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum (NLD) - This condition looks similar to diabetic dermopathy, but is more severe and is characterized by fewer, but more profound and larger spots. NLD is caused due to vascular changes in diabetes. Unlike diabetic dermopathy, NLD patches may become scaly, and in rare cases, they may even crack. They do not require treatment unless they break or get infected.

Diabetic blisters (Bullosis diabeticorum)- These are a formation of burn like blisters, that are painless and would heal in about 2-3 weeks. These blisters occur primarily due to neuropathy. Fortunately, such blisters will not leave a scar, and the only care that is required is to keep the skin clean so that they do not get infected at any stage. Bringing blood sugar level under control is the primary treatment of it.

Eruptive xanthomatosis - They are mostly an indicator of poorly controlled diabetes and thus are more common in those with type 1 diabetes with severe dyslipidemia (high blood cholesterol and triglycerides). It’s a condition characterized by the formation of yellow, pea-like enlargements at the back of hands, feet, buttocks. Only effective treatment of this condition is diabetes control and treatment of dyslipidemia.

Digital sclerosis- This is more common in type 1 diabetes. It is characterized by the development of thick, tight, and waxy skin on the back of the hands, making the person’s joints stiffer.

Those with diabetes are at increased risk of skin diseases. They should take extra care to keep the skin moisturized and clean, to avoid hot baths, use mild shampoos and soaps, and take special care of specific areas like armpits and groins.  Those with diabetes should develop a habit of regular skin inspection, as many conditions may develop without any symptoms and thus may go unnoticed.