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What Your Skin Is Telling You About Diabetes?

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Diabetes, in general is a silent disease. However, it can leave some distinct clues on the skin. In that regard, the skin may in fact be the first indicator of what's happening internally. About 29 million Americans have diabetes, one-quarter of them don't know it, so the question is have you looked at your skin closely lately?

Diabetic dermopathy is the term used to describe the small, round, brown atrophic asymptomatic shins skin lesions that occur in up to 55% of patients with diabetes. The lesions are more common in older patients with longstanding diabetes. The significance of diabetic dermopathy is as an indicator of other more serious pathologies and microvascular complications of diabetes such as retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy.

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Skin Problems Connected to Diabetes

What is the biggest contributor to diabetes?

Scleroderma diabeticorum is a skin that problem affects people with type 2 diabetes, causing a thickening of the skin on the back of the neck and upper back.

Acanthosis nigricans is a skin problem that results in the darkening and thickening of certain areas of the skin especially in the skin folds. As it progresses, the skin becomes tan or brown and is sometimes slightly raised and often described as velvety. Most often the condition, which typically looks like small warts, appears on the sides or back of the neck, the armpits, under the breast, and groin.

Acanthosis nigricans is usually found in people who are overweight or obese. Acanthosis nigricans usually precedes diabetes and is considered to be a marker for the disease. It is thought that this health condition is a skin manifestation of insulin resistance.

Some skin problems in type 2 diabetes are associated with reduced blood supply to the skin. Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum (NLD) is one of them. NLD is caused by changes in the collagen and fat content underneath the skin. The overlaying skin area becomes thinned and reddened. Sometimes, NLD can be itchy and painful.

Digital sclerosis is a condition in which the skin on of the toes, fingers, and hands become thick, waxy, and tight. Occasionally, stiffness of the finger joints also may occur.

Eruptive xanthomatosis is a skin condition in diabetics associated with the emergence of firm, yellow, waxy pea-like bumps found on the skin of the face and buttocks. It is linked to poorly controlled blood sugar levels and extremely high levels of triglycerides.

Keeping diabetes under control is the most important factor in preventing these skin problems. Manage your blood sugar level within the recommended safe range. If you see skin symptoms that you are unfamiliar with, go see your doctor.

Moses "Mo" Igono lives in Phoenix, Arizona. I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2005. My life was turned around to the point that I am very passionate and committed to helping anybody who is going through the same ordeal. I research and publish resources that would benefit persons with Type 2 Diabetes on my Facebook page:

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