Diabetes can put you at risk for suffering from many skin conditions, some wanting medications while others not engaging in any specific treatment measures. When it comes to avoiding skin complications and unfavorable outcomes of diabetes, the most crucial thing is blood sugar control. It not only helps in preventing a complication (including skin complication) but also treating the same in case of its occurrence.
Skin complications can range from the mild ones as itching to the more serious and troubling ones like vitiligo and Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum (NLD). Here is a guide to help you treat some diabetic skin conditions.
Treating Diabetic Skin Conditions
The first thing you need to do is to consult your doctor when you note any abnormality or change in skin. Read ahead to find some diabetic skin conditions with their treatment options.
Diabetics apparently suffer more bacterial infections than the non-diabetics. Sty (infection of the eyelids), boil (infections of the hair follicles), carbuncles and nail infections are some of the infections diabetics are likely to experience. In bacterial infection, there can be swelling, redness and pain. Staph (Staphylococcus) bacteria are the most common culprits behind skin infections. A bacterial infection can be successfully treated with antibiotics implemented as cream or pill, as directed by your doctor.
Among diabetics, athlete’s foot, ringworm and jock itch are common fungal infections. Fungal infections, as those mentioned here, are generally caused by a yeast-like fungus (Candida albicans). This fungus is usually found in warm and moist skin areas like fingers and toes, corners of the mouth and vagina. Fungal infections can be bothering with itchy rashes, tiny blisters and scales. They can be treated with an anti-fungal medication.
Diabetics can also have an allergic reaction to several things including medications, insulin and anti-hyperglycemic medications. Allergic reaction can also occur due to an insect bites or food. It is advisable to consult your doctor at the earliest on having an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction can, sometimes, be dangerous wanting prompt medical intervention.
Diabetics can also have an allergic reaction out of pollens. Medications generally constitute the primary mode of treatment. Antihistamines and decongestants are generally used to hinder the effect of chemicals involved in an allergic reaction. However, these have side effects and should be implemented with precaution. Immunotherapy is another alternative treatment option. There are other ways to treat an allergic reaction depending on the severity and symptoms of the condition. Prevention from pollens serves the best way to avoid an allergic reaction. You should always consult your doctor when suffering from an allergic symptom as individual needs differ.
Diabetics have a high risk of developing thickening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis affects vessels that cause cardiovascular disease; vessels supplying blood to the skin can also be affected. During the process, the skin can change – becomes hairless, thin and shiny. Reduced blood flow can cause an infection to become severe. An existing problem, like a wound, can heal slowly owing to this condition.
Atherosclerosis can be improved partly through glycemic control. Besides, diet and exercise also play vitally in controlling the condition. Sometimes, lipid-lowering drugs may be used for diabetics. If a diabetic has an existing vascular disease, aggressive treatment may be needed.
Diabetic Blisters (bullosis diabeticorum)
Rare and almost painless, diabetic blisters can heal on their own. They are similar to burn blister and usually found on fingers, toes, hands, feet and forearms. Tight blood sugar control can also help in expediting the treatment of diabetic blisters.
Digital sclerosis affects mostly the type 1 diabetes which is not controlled appropriately. Symptoms of this skin condition appear as thick, waxy (but tight) skin on hands, fingers and toes. Fingers can also become stiff. In a rare case, knees, ankles or elbows may get affected.
Brining blood glucose levels back to a normal level is the main treatment measure to be adopted. Using a moisturizer may help keep the skin soft.
Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum (NLD)
This is a skin condition similar to diabetic dermopathy. Here, skin can become yellow, waxy and get raised. Treatment may not be essential until the sores remain closed. Women can suffer more from this condition as compared to men.
Blood sugar control apparently does not play a role here, both before and after diagnosis of the condition. Medications may be used; it is difficult to arrive at a conclusive treatment measure fro NLD due to lack of knowledge about what causes this condition. Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum has association with diabetes mellitus, predominantly in the insulin dependants.
Vitiligo is a condition wherein the coloration of skin gets affected. The patient has patchy skin which differs in coloration from the usual skin.
This condition has no treatment categorically. A sun screen with SPF 15 or more can be used to avoid damage to the discolored skin. Micro pigmentation (tattooing) is one way to take care of the discolored area.
This is another diabetic skin problem where the skin darkens and thickens become in folds. Skin can also lose its usual coloration to become brown or tan. Overweight diabetics can suffer from this condition more often. It has no cure, although losing weight may improve the skin problem. Acanthosis nigricans is supposed to be an outcome of insulin resistance. This skin problem can also be a precursor to diabetes. So, if a non-diabetic suffers from this condition, he/she should consult the doctor for diabetic testing.
Itching, which can happen to anyone, can also trouble diabetics. There can be many reasons for itching including yeast infection and poor blood flow. Your legs are mostly affected if you have poor blood flow. Skin lotions can relieve itching to certain extent. Lotions can keep skin soft and prevent them from drying and itching. Reduced bathing and use of a mild soap are other ways to deal with itching.
More useful tips for treating skin conditions in diabetes
Prompt diagnosis can ensure timely treatment of a skin condition, before it can actually become a problem. Many diabetic skin problems can be prevented through tight blood sugar control and routine examinations of the skin. High blood glucose can reduce your strength to fight invasions, including those on the skin.
It is important for diabetics to keep their skin clean and dry. Even minor injuries and abrasions should be attended cautiously and monitored for infection or any other sign of deterioration. Using mild soaps, shampoos and toiletries are other useful considerations.
Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated. Wear cotton clothes, particularly undergarments, to promote circulation of air. Attune with your doctor for becoming more aware of diabetic consequences and have regular checkups to get timely treatment.