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6 common skin problems linked to diabetes

Health By Esther Muchene

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A common disease in the country now, diabetes is a serious ailment that can affect different parts of the body including the skin. In some cases, unusual skin conditions can be the tale sign that one is suffering from diabetes. Some of the skin conditions suffered by people with diabetes are common and can occur to almost anyone. These include itching, bacterial and fungal infections. However, some skin conditions mostly affect those suffering from diabetes.

1. Atherosclerosis

This is a condition that is caused by the narrowing of blood vessels. The narrow blood vessels cause insufficient supply of oxygen to the skin. Symptoms of atherosclerosis include cold skin, hair loss, thinning and shiny skin as well as thickened and discolored toenails. Legs and feet affected by the condition heal slowly as the narrow blood vessels also affect supply of the white blood cells.

2. Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum

NLD is another condition caused by change in blood vessels. It manifests as a dull, red, raised area on the skin which later appears as a shiny scar with a violet border. NLD can be itchy and painful and sometimes the sores break open. It is a rare condition that is more common in adult women. You do not need to have it treated unless the sores break open.

3. Acanthosis Nigricans

This skin condition causes darkened, thickened skin. Tan or brown skin that is slightly raised usually appears on the sides of the neck, groin and armpits. It may also occur on elbows, hands and knees. It especially affects people who are overweight. To curb it without much treatment, losing weight is a good start to healing.

4. Digital Sclerosis

This is a skin condition that affects about a third of people who suffer from type 1 diabetes. People with the condition develop thick, waxy skin on the back on their hands and at times, it also affects the skin on the toes and forehead. Digital sclerosis also stiffens the finger joints which affects their movement. Using prescribed and natural oils, lotions and moisturizers can help soften the skin.

5. Eruptive Xanthomatosis

Eruptive xanthomatosis is caused by lack of control of the blood glucose levels and when triglycerides are at really high levels in the blood. It manifests on the skin as firm, yellow, pea-like bumps. These bumps can be itchy and appear on the back of hands, the feet, arms, legs and buttocks. Using lipid-lowering drugs can be helpful.

6. Diabetic Dermopathy

Another skin condition caused by the change in blood vessels is diabetic dermopathy. This condition appears as light brown, scaly patches on the skin. The patches can be oval or circular and can often be mistaken for age spots. The patches are not itchy, do not hurt and do not open up. They occur mostly on the front of the legs although each leg is affected to a different degree. This condition is not harmful and does not require treatment.

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