Diabetes can affect every part of the body, including the skin. Over 33% of people with diabetes will have a skin disorder caused or affected by diabetes at some point in their lives. In fact, such problems are sometimes the first sign that someone has diabetes.
Luckily, most skin conditions can be prevented or easily treated if caught early. But if you don’t maintain proper skin care, minor skin damage can turn into a serious problem with potentially severe consequences. Good skin care is therefore a first step to reduce the risk of infections.
Some skin problems are conditions anyone can experience, but people with diabetes get more easily. These include bacterial infections, fungal infections, and itching. Other skin problems happen almost only to people with diabetes. These include diabetic dermopathy, necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum, diabetic blisters, and eruptive xanthomatosis.
Skin condition and diabetes
Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases which causes high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. If the blood glucose (sugar) level is high, the body loses fluid, causing the skin to become dry. This occurs, because the body wants to lose the excess of glucose and does so by extra urinating, thereby depleting the body of water.
The skin can also get dry if the nerves, especially those in the legs and feet, do not get the message to sweat (because of diabetic neuropathy). Sweating helps to keep skin soft and moist. A dry skin can become red and sore and can crack and peel. Germs can enter the skin through the cracks and cause a bacterial overgrowth. In addition, dry skin is usually itchy and scratching can also lead to skin damage and infection.