Around a third of people with diabetes have a diabetes related skin condition. Skin problems for diabetics are an early indication of the disease. This is especially true if they accompany other symptoms of the illness. Thankfully, diabetic skin complications can often be prevented and treated.
The conditions a person experiences will be unique to themselves. However, these conditions can be placed into general categories. Listed below are some of the most common skin conditions experienced by people with diabetes including fungal infections, bacterial issues, diabetic dermopathy and NLD.
1. Dry Skin
Diabetics often experience itchy skin. This itching is caused by dry skin, yeast infection and/or poor circulation. The reason that diabetics have dry skin is that the illness often causes a lack of sweating. Dry skin can be treated by using moisturizer regularly while yeast infections can be treated with prescribed medication. Those who have poor circulation should speak to their doctor about this condition.
2. Fungal Infections
Fungal infections can appear in the folds of the skin, under the nails or between the toes. Diabetics are prone to fungal growth as fungus is drawn to moisture and high blood sugar levels. While fungal infections can be treated with prescription medication, they will return if a person’s blood sugar levels are not managed.
3. Bacterial Infections
Bacterial infections are painful and include boils, sties and carbuncles. These infections effect the skin, tissue and hair follicles. People with diabetes may also get an infection around their nails.
Doctors tend to treat this problem with antibiotics. Unfortunately, continued use of this medicine can cause the body to become resistant to antibiotics. Prevention is better than cure when it comes to bacterial infections.
3. Diabetic Dermopathy
This condition causes brown scaly patches on the skin. The patches are similar to age spots. Although the condition is unattractive, it is not harmful. The patches do not itch, hurt or crack open.
4. Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum (NLD)
NLD causes spots which appear as dull, red raised skin. These spots are purple around the border. After a while, they become shiny like a scar.
How to Prevent and Treat Skin Problems for Diabetics
The key to preventing diabetic skin condition is managing the illness properly. Diabetics should follow their doctor’s instructions regarding food, exercise and medication.Those who do this will find that their blood glucose level will stay within the range recommended by their doctor. Proper skincare can also reduce the risk of these conditions. Diabetics should take the following measures to keep their skin healthy:
- Wash the skin with a mild soap.
- Rinse of soap properly and dry of the skin. This will help prevent fungal growth in moist areas.
- Apply lotion.
- Wear cotton clothing as it allows sweat to evaporate.
- Monitor the skin for any changes.
Preventing skin conditions can sound like a lot of work. However, diabetics should remember that managing their diabetes will improve their overall health. Those who maintain good blood sugar levels are more likely to lead a healthy and active life. Keep your eyes out for the foot area to check for fungus, cuts and other potential issues.
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