Why Diabetes Affects skin.
Diabetes Mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases that share the phenotype of hyperglycemia. The metabolic changes associated with diabetes causes secondary pathophysiological changes in multiple organ systems including the skin. What that means in plain English is if diabetes itself is not enough to cope with it is often accompanied by all sorts of unwelcome skin eruptions. All medications for diabetes which control the glucose levels affect the skin, in both diabetes type I and type 2 diabetes. The most distressing effects can be seen in type I diabetes after prolonged use of insulin. That does not mean that type II diabetes sufferers get off scot free, they don’t. There is always a correlation between diabetes and the skin. It is always a matter of time before diabetes affects skin condition.
Diabetes and skin eruptions.
The diabetics who managed to control their blood sugar level and do not have massive spikes of glucose tend to have fewer problems than those that don’t. Very few diabetics get off without any long or short term skin eruptions.
Diabetes affects all the organs of the body. As the skin is the largest organ it makes sense that a lot of the manifestations and complications of diabetes can be seen on the surface area of the skin.
It is important for diabetics to be aware of changes in their skin, the changes may be acne, discoloration of the skin tone or a thickening of the skin. One of the many side-effects of insulin is that it helps to maintain good skin condition.Lack of insulin in both the short and long-term means that wounds take longer to heal. Whereas a normal person may start to develop a scab an hour after a graze, a diabetic may not be so fortunate. A sugary syrupy secretion will very likely seep out of the wound and this makes it difficult for a scab to form.
Sadly this is not the only effect of reduced insulin because the open wound makes it easier for infections to get inside the body. Very often medical staff are not monitoring these cutaneous changes, so it’s important that you are aware of them yourselves. Changes in the skin can also be a warning sign that there is already a glucose intolerance. One of these indicators is dry flaky itchy skin. Another is “acanthosis nigricans” this nasty sounding skin condition doesn’t hurt. It can be seen clearly a darkening of the skin around the armpits or around the neck. So the fact that it doesn’t hurt is no comfort it can be very disfiguring.
Either of these two conditions should be taken as a warning sign. If you have either of them then it would be wise to go and ask your doctor to check your sugar levels. Acanthosis nigricans is not always linked to glucose intolerance, there are other conditions which can cause it but in the vast majority of cases the culprit is glucose, and as we have seen diabetes affects the skin.
The bacterial infection Staphylococcus is quite common when glucose levels are not stable. They usually occur around hair follicles. That means around the eyelashes which often results in styes at other times when the hair follicle becomes inflamed an eruption which resembles a boil flares up. The only control and treatment for this condition is antibiotics.
Candida albicans” is a fungal infection and it is often a precursor of diabetes. The infections are more prevalent between damp moist folds of the skin. Athlete’s foot often occurs between the toes and ringworm is a ring-shaped red patch or blister which usually appears in the groin abdomen and chest and feet. Candida albicans is also a vagina infection and can be an indication of a glucose imbalance. All of these fungal infections are unpleasant, but they can be treated. Mucormycosis is another fungal infection which is potentially fatal. It begins in the nose and then spreads to the eyes and from the eyes to the brain.
In the long term, the only real control for the skin infections is maintaining healthy glucose levels. That means being aware of what you eat and reducing your carbohydrate intake. Scaly dry skin can be caused by poor circulation and it can be helped by a topical moisturizing cream. Without taking control of your diabetes, all of the skin conditions can return.Minimize how diabetes affects the skin.