The human body is a delicate assembly of organs, bones and muscles that work in harmony in order to keep us healthy and living a happy life. The largest organ that we have is the one that plays the important role of keeping everything running properly and free from harmful bacteria, this organ is the skin. Everybody needs to maintain healthy skin because it is the first barrier that will protect us from dangerous bacteria. It will also help us regulate our temperature, assist in absorbing nutrients. and eliminate waste, among other important functions. There are many skin conditions, and they affect different people, different skin types. Certain preexisting health conditions as well as genetics could predispose us to some skin conditions. Among the diabetic community, some research links certain skin problems with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. People that suffer from diabetes should pay special attention to their skin as most skin problems can be easily treated and even prevented with proper care.
People with type 1 diabetes have been linked to be more likely to develop three types of skin disease when compared to people that suffer from type 2 diabetes. The first disease is called vitiligo; this condition destroys the cells in the skin that are in charge of producing the pigment, these cells are the ones that give us our skin complexion. Once the cells are destroyed in certain areas we can see the characteristic patches of discolored skin. The areas of the body where vitiligo commonly appears are the chest and abdomen; however, it can also develop on the face around the mouth, nose and eyes. Nowadays people that suffer from vitiligo have some treatment options that include ultraviolet light treatment or topical steroids. Some people simply try to cover the discoloration with make-up, and some others use micropigmentation which is just like a tattoo on the affected discolored skin patches. It is important to always apply sunscreen to the affected areas of skin as this skin burn very fast under the sun.
Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum (NLD) is a disease that is caused by changes in the collagen and fat content underneath the skin. Most of the lesions develop in the lower parts of the legs, and they appear as thin and red well defined areas of the skin. Sometimes people get itchy or painful lesions, but usually that is not the case. This skin can form ulcers if it get hit, but unless there are open sores no treatment is required for this skin condition. The third condition is digital sclerosis. This condition is characterized by a thickening of the skin in the toes, fingers, and hands giving them a waxy and tight look and feel, and in some cases the fingers become somewhat rigid in the joints. The main treatment for digital sclerosis is to bring and maintain the glucose levels in blood under control. Some doctors recommend keeping the skin moist with the aid of lotions and moisturizers, for this can help with softening of the skin.
Patients that suffer from type 2 diabetes have been found to develop scleroderma diabeticorum, diabetic dermopathy, diabetic blisters, and disseminated granuloma annulare more often that people that have type 1 diabetes. Scleroderma diabeticorum causes the stiffening of the skin on the back of the neck and upper back on the people diagnosed with it. This condition is rare, but has been linked to type 2 diabetes. The treatment for this disease involves bring the sugar levels under control as well as using lotions and moisturizers to help make the skin softer. Diabetic dermopathy is also known as shin spots. This disease develops when the blood vessels under the skin change creating a shiny round lesion usually located in the front lower part of the leg. These patches do not hurt; however, in rare occasions they can be itchy and cause a burning sensation. In this particular disease no treatment is frequently required.
Bullosis diabeticorum or diabetic blisters is a condition that is linked to people who have severe uncontrolled diabetes or diabetic neuropathy; however, this condition is very rare. They are expressed as blisters that look like burn blisters. They appear in the fingers, hands, toes, feet, legs or forearms; the main treatment for this disease is to bring the blood sugar levels under control because high sugars Is a trigger for this condition. The last skin disease we will be talking about is called disseminated granuloma annulare; this condition makes sharply well-defined rings or arc shaped areas on the skin. The lesions usually occur in the fingers, ears, chest and abdomen, and they look red or red brown. In rare cases a topical steroid such as hydrocortisone helps with the symptoms, but this usually does not require any treatment.
The skin is a very important organ that everyone needs to protect, and diabetics are no exception. As we read above, some skin conditions in diabetics can be prevented and controlled by managing glucose levels correctly.
Note: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek medical advice for any questions regarding a medical condition or changes in your treatment.