Diabetes and skin complications: Have you experienced this?


Patients Diabetes (Type 2)

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Hello everyone,

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Diabetes can affect every part of the body, but did you know it can also affect your skin? In fact, skin issues are commonly the first sign that a person has diabetes! 

Though many skin conditions can happen to anyone, some may occur in people with diabetes more frequently, including bacteria and fungal infections and itching. There are even skin issues that occur almost explusively in diabetes patients like necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum, diabetic dermopathy, digital sclerosis, acanthosis nigricans and eruptive xanthomatosis.

Let's take a look at some of these skin conditions:

  • Necrobiosis lipoididca diabeticorum (NLD): NLD is a condition that usually develops on the lower legs and is caused by collagen degeneration and inflammation linked to the thickening of blood vessels which supply blood to the skin. It begins with a rash of dull, red-brown raised spots which may take on a yellow and shiny appearance with time. NLD can be itchy and painful.
  • Diabetic dermopathy: diabetic dermopathy is also caused by changes to the blood vessels and commonly occurs on the lower legs. It usually appears as light brown, scaly patches that can be ovular or circular in shape and may be mistaken for age spots. These patches are not painful or itchy and treatment is usually not necessary.
  • Digital sclerosis: this condition affects the skin around the joints of fingers and toes, which becomes waxy, stiff and tight. It can also cause joint stiffness.
  • Acanthosis nigricans: this is a relatively common condition in which brown or tan raised and thickened areas appear where the skin folds, often on the sides of the neck, armpits, groin and joints.
  • Eruptive xanthomatosis: this condition often in those whose diabetes is not well under control and is caused by high levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood. It appears as clusters of small, hard, round bumps that are yellow in color. They are often found on the back of arms, legs, feets, buttocks and back of the hands. They may also have a reddish halo and may itch.

For a more complete list of conditions with photos, the American Academy of Dermatology Association has put together a helpful guide. 

If you notice any of these signs, it is important to contact your doctor!

Have you experienced any of these diabetes-related skin conditions? What do you do to take care of your skin?

Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences here!

Take care,

Beginning of the discussion - 9/17/20

Diabetes and skin complications: Have you experienced this?

Posted on

@Courtney_J Wow, thank for you this information! I knew that diabetes could cause foot issues and make wound healing difficult, but I didn't know that there were so many skin conditions! Just took a look at my legs and it looks like I may have a spot of diabetic dermopathy two... Good to know that it's not harmful. 

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