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DOES DIABETES MELLITUS AFFECT THE SKIN?

Diabetic patients should always be aware of the many effects it causes on human body. One such affliction is the skin disease that diabetes mellitus causes rampantly. When a diabetic patient discovers abnormality on the skin it is better to consult a doctor and start a treatment otherwise it will be very difficult to cure later. In most cases skin disease in diabetes can be managed by early diagnosis and treatment.

Some of the more widespread skin diseases in diabetic patients are discussed here.

Vitiligo

This is a skin condition that affects those people with type 1 Diabetes than type 2 Diabetes. With Vitiligo the pigments that make skin color get destroyed or the special pigment cells in the body are destroyed. These leaves patches of depigmented skin lesion. Vitiligo affects the whole body including chest, abdomen, face, around the mouth, and eyelids. Topical steroids and micro-pigmentation or tattooing the discoloured area are the treatment.

Diabetic Dermopathy

This is also called as shin spots. The skin condition develops due to the changes in the blood vessels that supply the skin. The dermopathy appears as shiny round or oval lesions of thin skin over the front lower parts of the lower legs. The patches do not hurt but rarely they can be itchy and cause burning. Usually medical treatment is not necessary.

Digital Sclerosis

Digital sclerosis is a condition in which the skin on the toes, fingers and hands become thick and waxy. There can be a certain stiffness of the finger joints also. The only treatment is to get the sugar levels back under control. Lotions and creams can help soften the skin.

Diabetic blisters

In some rare cases, people with diabetes may develop blisters on the skin that resembles burn blisters. The blisters are commonly seen on the fingers, hands, toes, feet, legs or forearms. Diabetic blisters are generally painless and heal on their own. This skin problem occurs in people who have uncontrolled diabetes and diabetic neuropathy.

Bacterial & Fungal Infections

Patients with diabetes are prone to bacterial and fungal infection of the skin because bacteria and fungi feed on sugar. Bacteria like Staphylococcus are more common and serious in patients with uncontrolled diabetes. The bacterial infection can result in boils at hair follicles. Other infections like styes which occur in the eyelids and nail infection are common. The rampant fungal infection occurs mostly in the toes and in-between toes with itchy rashes. The common fungal infections are jock itch (on genitals and crevices) athlete’s foot (inbetween toes) and ring worm.

How to control diabetic skin Infection?

High blood sugar makes the immune cells slow and sluggish, that is why it is harder to fight an infection once it takes hold. Prevention is important in skin care. Check the skin daily for injury, cuts or scrapes. Eating healthy food alone can’t cure skin problems; keeping blood sugar under control is the best option. Avoid extreme temperatures when you have diabetes. Diabetes can cause nerve damage called neuropathy, where you can lose the feeling in your hands and feet and may not realize pain when you are hurt. Frequent foot soaks may be recommended for calluses and dry skin but when you soak and don’t dry properly it causes infection between toes and on the nails due to fungal attack. Never cut calluses by yourself. Sometimes a skin problem is the first sign of diabetes.

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