Skin is the largest organ in your body. Lots of people with diabetes are more likely to develop skin problems. While some are minor and primarily cosmetic, others can be deadly.
“Diabetes has the tendency to dry the skin as part of the disease procedure,” said Jeffrey Meffert, MD, program director, dermatology at University Health System’s Diabetes Institute in San Antonio, Texas. “Some of the medications used can make the issue even worse.”
When blood glucose is high the body loses fluid, causing the skin to become dry. Dry skin in diabetes is connected to harm to the nerves that cause sweating, the body’s primary lubricating system.
Dry skin and infections
Dry skin can lead to lots of major issues in diabetes. Cracking and peeling results in openings in the skin, enabling bacteria or fungi to get in the body. High levels of sugar in the body are great breeding grounds and reduce your body’s ability to recover itself, increasing the chances an infection might spread out.
A number of different kinds of bacterial infections happen regularly in individuals with diabetes. Among these are:
- styes in the glands of the eyelids;
- folliculitis of the hair follicles;
- carbuncles — very deep infections of the skin and underlying tissue; and
- infections around the nails.
“With bacterial infections, you usually first see a redness around the area of the cut or crack,” said Matthew G. Garoufalis, DPM, a podiatric doctor in private practice in Chicago. “People with diabetes are at a drawback due to the fact that they frequently will not feel pain, which can be an early warning that an infection is occurring. As it progresses, you might also see drainage from the wound, and it might become warm to the touch.”
Fungal infections also are a concern. Usually, the organism in skin folds is Candida albicans. This is a yeast-like fungus that develops a rash of wet, red areas surrounded by tiny blisters. They take place most often in warm and wet areas. Other typical fungal diseases consist of jock itch, athlete’s foot, ringworm, and vaginal infections.
Dry skin can take place as a result of high blood glucose. When the blood glucose level is high, the body tries to remove excess glucose from the blood by increasing urination. This loss of fluid from the body causes the skin to become dry. Dry skin can also be caused by neuropathy (damage to the nerves) by impacting the nerves that manage the sweat glands. In these cases, neuropathy causes a decline or absence of sweating that might cause dry, cracked skin. Cold, dry air and bathing in hot water can aggravate dry skin.
Dryness commonly results in other skin problems such as itching (and frequently scratching), cracking, and peeling. Any small breaks in the skin leave it more exposed to injury and infection. It is therefore crucial to keep skin well hydrated. The best method to hydrate is to apply cream or cream right after showering and patting the skin dry. This will seal in beads of water that are present on the skin from the shower. Skin that is severely dry might need application of sturdy emollients 2 — 3 times a day.
Itchy skin is normally connected to dryness, but it can likewise be connected to bad circulation, particularly in the legs and feet. This is normally due to atherosclerosis, a disease where fatty plaques are deposited in the arteries. Fungal infections, which can be more common when an individual has high blood glucose, can also be very itchy.
How to keep your skin healthy
A big part of keeping your skin healthy includes preserving practices that benefit your whole body, such as eating a balanced diet, drinking a lot of water, handling stress, and managing your blood glucose level. Excellent diabetes management is particularly essential, given that many skin conditions are related to complications arising from high blood glucose. By sticking to healthy routines and watching on your skin, you can prevent lots of typical conditions and more than happy with the skin you’re in.