Diabetes Skin Symptoms
Metabolic Health
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Diabetes Skin Symptoms

Prediabetes Symptoms On Skin

Prediabetes is a condition where your blood sugar level is higher than what is considered normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes type 2. However, if someone diagnosed with prediabetes does not make adjustments to their lifestyle, they have a significant chance of developing type 2 diabetes in the long run. Prediabetes doesn’t usually have outward symptoms but obesity, changing skin color, digestive issues can all be indications that something is wrong. 

However, there are ways of determining if you have prediabetes such as diabetes symptoms on skin. If you have dark skin patches (or band) or velvety skin on the back of your neck, armpit, groin, or anywhere else on your body, this may be a sign that your blood contains an excessive amount of insulin. This is a common indicator of the presence of prediabetes. This prediabetes symptom skin disorder is referred to as acanthosis nigricans in the medical community. Acanthosis Nigricans (AN) is a condition that might be the first indication that a person has diabetes. AN is characterized by darker skin in the creases of the neck. Other symptoms of prediabetes converting to type 2 diabetes include:

  • Heightened thirst
  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Distorted vision
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Many infections
  • Slowly healing wounds
  • Unwanted loss of weight

Skin Diabetes Symptoms

Diabetes affects a big segment of the human population every year. People tend to identify this condition from a variety of symptoms. A significant aspect of those symptoms pertains to the skin. That’s right; the diabetes effect on the skin is a reality. 

People can often ignore skin diabetes symptoms. Many individuals affected by diabetes can get confused and attribute them instead to other causes. However, the reality is that skin diabetes symptoms are a separate class of their own. These symptoms, including prediabetes symptoms and skin signs, can be a good indicator of an underlying diabetic condition. 

Let us take a look at the various skin symptoms related to diabetes that you need to watch out for:

1. Yellow, Reddish, or Brown Patches on Skin

If you witness this specific condition, then know you have Necrobiosis Lipoidica. It’s a skin condition that initially involves pimple-like bumps. These bumps are solid, raised, and small in size. On the progression of this condition, these bumps keep on increasing to form hardened skin patches. The skin would also appear swollen during this advanced phase. 

In this condition, one may also notice the following:

  • Formation of yellow, reddish, or brown patches
  • A shiny porcelain-like appearance on the skin that surrounds these patches
  • Blood vessels become visible
  • Itchy and painful skin
  • Various cycles are involved in this condition- active, inactive, and then active again.

2. Darker Velvety Areas of Skin

A good indicator of excessive insulin in the blood is the formation of dark patches of velvety skin on certain body parts. Such body parts are:

  • Neck
  • Armpit
  • Groin
  • Elsewhere

These velvety dark patches are one of the major prediabetes sign and symptoms of skin diabetes. There’s a technical word for this condition known as Acanthosis Nigricans.

3. Hard & Thickening Skin

A condition known as Digital Sclerosis can cause the formation of hardened and thickened skin on:

  • Fingers 
  • Toes
  • Both

Due to this, stiffness may develop in the fingers or toes, becoming difficult to move. On spreading, the complex and thickened skin can appear on various body parts like:

  • Forearms
  • Upper  arms
  • Upper back 
  • Shoulders
  • Neck
  • Face
  • Chest 

In rare cases, it can even appear on:

  • Knees
  • Ankles
  • Elbows

4. Blisters

This is one of the rare skin symptoms of diabetes, but it can still affect some people. This involves the sudden appearance of painless blisters on the skin. These blisters may appear in the forms below:

  • A single large blister
  • Group of blisters
  • Both 

These blisters form on various body parts, such as the following:

  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Legs
  • Forearms

5. Skin Infections

Skin infections can also be an unfortunate consequence for people with diabetes. In such a case, the following may happen:

  • Painful swollen skin
  • Itchy rash
  • Tiny blisters
  • Dry scale skin
  • White discharge

Such a diabetes-related skin infection can form in any part of the body, including the area of the scalp or around nails. 

6. Open Sores and Wounds

Due to diabetes, nerve damage and poor circulation can occur in extreme cases. While these are not necessarily related to skin, they can indirectly affect the skin. This is because they can make it difficult for the body to heal wounds. Its biggest impact can be felt on the feet, where open wounds called diabetic foot ulcers can form. 

7. Shin Spots

Shin spots refer to a skin condition that involves the formation of spots on the skin. Due to this, depression can form in the hardly noticeable skin. This is a common occurrence in those who are living with diabetes. Experts call this condition Diabetic Dermopathy. In most cases, its formation takes place on the shins. However, it can also involve other body parts like the trunk, thighs, arms, etc. 

8. Outbreak of Small, Reddish-yellow Bumps

These are bumps that often bear an initial resemblance to pimples. However, later on, a yellowish colour can be noticed on them. These bumps can form anywhere on the body, but mainly you will find them on: 

  • Buttocks
  • Thighs
  • Elbows crooks
  • Backs of the knees

9. Red or Skin-coloured Raised Bumps

There is some doubt whether this condition can be linked to diabetes. However, research indicates a pattern of the existence of this condition in those with diabetes. The technical term for this condition of bumps is known as Granuloma Annulare. This condition can form over large skin areas in individuals with diabetes. 

10. Extremely Dry, Itchy Skin

One of the most prominent skin diabetes symptoms is having dehydrated and itchy skin. This can happen if you are living with diabetes. The main culprit is a high blood sugar (glucose) level.

11. Yellowish Scaly Patches in and around your Eyelids

The development of yellowish scaly patches can occur due to high-fat levels in the blood. It is a good indicator of uncontrolled or badly managed diabetes.  Experts call this condition Xanthelasma. These scaly patches on and around your eyelids disappear once the diabetic condition is properly controlled. 

12. Skin Tags

Skin tags also refer to a significant diabetes effect on the skin that can affect many people. Skin tags mean having skin growths that you will find hanging from a stalk. These skin growths are generally not considered harmful. However, having plenty of them is not a good sign as it may be an indicator of excessive insulin in the blood or type 2 diabetes. Most commonly, they are found on body parts like:

  • Eyelids
  • Neck
  • Armpit
  • Groin

Does Diabetes Cause Itching? - Itchy Skin And Other Complications

Itching is a common symptom of diabetic polyneuropathy, which is a disorder that occurs as a result of the nerve damage caused by diabetes. Diabetes and itchy skin go hand in hand as it’s possible that itchy skin might be caused by some skin diseases that develop because of diabetes. A diabetic individual with itching skin should not overlook the condition. Dry, irritated, or itchy skin is more prone to get infected, and persons with diabetes may not be able to adequately fight off infections as well as those who do not have the disease.

Itching in certain parts of the body might be a symptom of diabetes. There are a few different explanations as to why someone who has diabetes could feel itching more often than other people. It is possible that damaged nerve fibers in the outer layers of skin might cause itching in some instances.

Diabetic neuropathy or peripheral neuropathy is often the root cause of itching that is associated with diabetes. These are complications of diabetes that emerge when high blood glucose levels induce damage to nerve fibers, especially those in the feet and hands. High blood glucose levels may cause damage to nerve fibers in a number of different parts of the body apart from just arms and legs. People with diabetes have higher than normal quantities of cytokines circulating in their bodies before the first signs of nerve damage appear. These are inflammatory compounds that have the potential to cause itching.

Some people with diabetes may have a negative side effect of a new drug in the form of itchy skin, or they may have an allergic response to the medication. However, a person should not stop taking their prescription until they have discussed the matter with their physician and received confirmation that they have encountered an adverse response. There is a possibility that the doctor may need to prescribe a different prescription.

Itching is another symptom that may arise when circulation is inadequate in a person's body. When this occurs, a person's lower legs are more prone to start itching than their upper legs. Itchiness may be brought on by dryness of the skin, which can be caused by the use of skin products that include fragrances, colors, and harsh soaps.

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Bottomline

Diabetes can produce various symptoms in the body. Among these, the skin-related symptoms are a significant aspect of it. The formation of yellow, reddish, or brown patches on the skin is a prominent skin-related symptom. Similarly, there are several other skin diabetes symptoms that one needs to look out for. They can also include pre diabetic symptoms. Also know about signs and symptoms of diabetes mellitus.

FAQs

Are skin tags a sign of diabetes?

Yes, Skin tags are skin growths that dangle on the skin and look like deflated balloons are present in a lot of individuals. Even though they are completely harmless, having a large number of skin tags might indicate that you have an excessive amount of insulin in your blood or that you have type 2 diabetes.

Does diabetes cause brown spots on feet?

Yes, diabetes does cause brown spots on feet. People who have diabetes are more likely to develop a skin disorder called diabetes-related dermopathy, which is not harmful. It manifests itself on the shins as a collection of brown spots that are often rather tiny and circular. There is currently no cure for diabetes-related dermopathy but it can be concealed by makeup and clothing.


References

  • https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/skin-complications

Disclaimer

This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.