Diabetes-Related Skin Conditions: What You Need to Know

If you are living with diabetes, it is important to be aware of the potential skin conditions that can occur as a result of the disease. In our last blog post, “Diabetes and Skin Complications: What You Need to Know,” we talked about general skin conditions and their link to diabetes. Here, we’ll do a deeper dive into skin conditions actually caused by the disease. We will discuss some of these skin conditions in detail and provide information on how to best manage them.

Diabetes-related Skin Conditions

Acanthosis Nigricans

Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition characterized by brown or tan raised areas on the neck, armpits, and groin. They can also affect the hands, elbows, and knees.

People who are overweight are more likely to develop acanthosis nigricans. The ideal treatment is to reduce weight. Some creams can help the marks appear less noticeable.

Diabetic Dermopathy

Small blood vessel abnormalities are a common complication of diabetes. Diabetic dermopathy is a skin condition that may be caused by these changes to the small blood vessels.

Light brown, scaly patches are one of the most common symptoms of diabetic dermopathy. These patches tend to be oval or circular. Some individuals confuse them for age spots. Most frequently on the front of both legs, this ailment affects the top layer of skin. The patches do not hurt, irritate, or itch. Diabetic dermopathy is a non-threatening skin condition that does not need to be treated.

Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum

Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum (NLD) is another condition that can be caused by changes in the blood vessels. NLD causes spots similar to diabetic dermopathy, but they are fewer, larger, and deeper.

Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum often starts as a dull, red, raised area. After some time, it can begin to resemble a sparkling scar with a violet border. As a result of NLD, the blood vessels under the skin may become more visible. Sometimes the condition can tend to be itchy and painful, especially if the spots crack open.

NLD is rare, but adult women are the most likely to get it. As long as the sores do not break open, there is no need to seek treatment. In the case the sores do break open, you should see your doctor for treatment reccomendations.

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions to medicine, such as insulin or diabetes pills, are possible. If you believe you are having an adverse drug reaction, you should consult your doctor. Be on the lookout for rashes, bumps, or swelling at the sites where you inject insulin.

Diabetic Blisters (Bullosis Diabeticorum)

Altough it is rare, people with diabetes can erupt in blisters. Diabetic blisters can appear on the backs of hands, toes, feet, and sometimes on legs or forearms. These sores resemble burn blisters and are common in individuals with diabetic neuropathy. Diabetic blisters can sometimes be large, but they are painless and have no redness around them. In about three weeks, they heal on their own, generally without scars. 

Eruptive Xanthomatosis

Another diabetes-related illness is eruptive xanthomatosis. Firm, yellow, pea-like formations may be seen in the skin as a result of this. Each bump has a red halo and may itch. This condition affects the backs of hands, feet, arms, legs, and buttocks the most.

The condition generally affects young males with diabetes type 1. The individual is frequently suffering from high cholesterol and fat levels in the circulation. These bumps go away when diabetes is under control.

Digital Sclerosis

On the back of their hands, some people with diabetes develop tight, thick, waxy skin. The skin of the toes and forehead may also become thick. The finger joints stiffen, making it impossible for them to move as freely as they used to. Knees, ankles, or elbows can occasionally become rigid.

About one-third of people with type 1 diabetes suffer from this problem. The only treatment is to bring blood glucose levels under control.

Disseminated Granuloma Annulare

The skin of a disseminated granuloma annulare sufferer has sharply defined ring- or arc-shaped raised areas. These rashes occur most often on parts of the body far from the torso (for example, the fingers or ears). But sometimes the raised areas occur on the torso. They might be crimson, red-brown, or the color of skin.

If you suffer from disseminated granuloma annulare be sure to see your doctor if you get rashes like this. There are medications that can help clear up this condition.

Managing Diabetes-Related Skin Conditions

The best way to manage diabetes-related skin conditions is to keep your blood sugar levels in check. This can be difficult, but it’s important to try. You should also see your doctor regularly so they can check for any changes in your skin. Be sure to let them know if you notice anything that concerns you.

 

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