Do you know that diabetes can affect your skin? Although unintended weight loss, frequent urination, thirst, and fatigue are common symptoms of diabetes, changes in a person's skin can also be early warning signs of the disease.

Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by high blood sugar levels caused by insufficient insulin production or failure to effectively use insulin for the regulation of blood glucose.

In many cases, skin changes appear in a person with diabetes even before the diagnosis. If you are already a diabetic patient, skin issues may indicate that blood sugar levels are high, and the diabetic treatment needs adjustments.

These are the common skin changes that indicate high blood sugar levels:

1. Dry and itchy skin: When the blood sugar levels are high, the body pulls fluid from its cells to produce enough urine to remove the excess sugar, making the skin dry. A person with diabetes also has poor blood circulation, which again can make the skin itchy and dry.

2. Acanthosis nigricans: It is the most common sign of pre-diabetes that indicates that the body has too much insulin. The body shows velvety, thick, and dark skin in areas of folds and creases such as the back of the neck, armpit, and groin. They can appear in people who are overweight, have hormone disorders, or with the use of certain medications like systemic glucocorticoids and oral contraceptives.

When the blood sugar is brought under control, or by treating the underlying condition that causes acanthosis nigricans, the color and texture of the skin can be improved.

3. Digital sclerosis: The condition causes the skin on fingers to become tight, thick, and waxy, and turns the finger joints to become stiff and hard to move. It is mostly seen in people with type 1 diabetes, who have high blood sugar levels. Bringing the blood sugar levels down and treatments using physical therapy helps to relieve the symptom.

4. Skin tags: The condition is characterized by growths on the skin that hang from a stalk. The harmless skin condition commonly seen in many older people can sometimes indicate high insulin levels in the blood or type 2 diabetes. The skin tags can drop off by themselves over time.

5. Skin infections: People with diabetes are prone to bacterial injections on any area of their body, including the scalp, toes, and around nails. These infections are usually painful, and the skin appears red and swollen.

Fungal infections are also common in people with diabetes. These infections can cause itchy rashes and scales on the skin, often in warm moist folds in areas like under the breast, armpits, groin, and around nails.

6. Blisters: Bullosis diabeticorum, also known as diabetic bullae, is a type of large blister that appears on the hands, feet, legs, or forearms. They look like blisters after a serious burn, but are not painful. The condition is unique to patients with diabetes mellitus.

7. Eruptive xanthomatosis: It causes pimple-like bumps on the skin that appear yellowish. The pimples can appear in areas like the buttocks, thighs, crooks of the elbows, or backs of the knees. They are usually tender and itchy, and often clear when diabetes is well-controlled.

skin changes
In many cases, skin changes appear in a person with diabetes even before the diagnosis. pixabay