Diabetes is one of the most common disease in India, in which the body’s ability to process the blood glucose or blood sugar levels is affected. According to the World Health Organisation, diabetes is a growing challenge in India with estimated 8.7 per cent diabetic population in the age group of 20 and 70 years. However, the condition also causes some skin problems that a person suffering from diabetes should be aware of.
Dr Anup Dhir, senior consultant Apollo Hospital; cosmetic & plastic surgeon and andrologist, Image Medical Centre shares a few skin related problems faced by diabetics:
*Acanthosis nigricans is a skin disease that usually happens to people who are suffering from obesity or diabetes. The disease is characterised by darkening and thickening of the skin in the neck, armpits and groin areas. Children with this condition are at a higher risk of developing type-2 diabetes. There is no specific treatment for this disease but losing weight can improve the condition of the skin. One should consult a doctor if they notice any difference and changes in their skin.
*Yeast is one of the most naturally found microscopic fungus in the human body, which can cause fungal infection in the body if it overgrows. Any person who is suffering from diabetes is at a higher risk of developing such fungal infections. A person should visit a doctor immediately if they develop the condition, for them to identify the kind of infection to begin the treatment. However, it is mostly treated with various kinds of antibiotics.
*Diabetic people have too much glucose (sugar) in their blood, which can cause some pretty serious skin complications. Diabetic blisters are common among people with diabetic neuropathy, in which the nerves in the feet and legs can be damaged, due to which a person does not feel heat, cold or pain. If someone does not realise a cut or a sore, it could be due to neuropathy. Consulting a doctor is a must because it can get worse and might turn infectious.
*Eruptive xanthomatosis is a skin condition that can occur when the body’s blood sugar level is not well-controlled and when triglycerides rises to extremely high levels. Eruptive xanthomatosis often appears as firm, yellow, waxy-pea like bumps on the skin. The bumps are usually surrounded by red halos and are itchy. These are generally found in the face, buttocks, back side of arms and legs. One can treat the disease by controlling the level of fats in blood, and
sometimes lipid-lowering drugs are also needed.
*Sometimes diabetes can infect the small blood vessels of the body. Changes to the blood vessels because of diabetes can cause a skin disease called diabetes dermopathy, which usually appears as scaly patches that are light brown or red. These are usually found on the front side of the leg and do not hurt, itch or blister. Treatment for this disease is generally not required.