Your Skin and Diabetes
If you are looking for another reason to get your blood sugar levels under control and keep them that way, then look no further than your own skin! Fruitland’s Dr. Carl Thornfeldt and the CT Derm team commonly see skin problems related to diabetes.
As many as one out of three people with diabetes will have at least one skin problem after their diagnosis. Luckily, with early treatment, most can be successfully resolved before they turn into a serious problem. Here are a few things you should know about.
Itchy skin, also called pruritus, can have many causes, such as dry skin, poor blood flow, kidney issues, or yeast infections. When itching is caused by poor blood flow, you will likely feel it in your lower legs and feet. A good moisturizer such as Epionce Renewal Calming Cream can help to keep your skin soft and moist, as well as reduce itching due to dry skin when used daily.
Bacterial infections like staph (or staphylococcus) on the surface of the skin are more common with people who struggle with poorly controlled diabetes. Another common problem with diabetics is styes. These are infections of the eyelid glands, and they may need treatment with antibiotics.
Fungal infections are also quite common. Sometimes called jock itch, athlete’s foot, or ringworm, fungal or yeast-caused skin infections can frequently occur in clients with diabetes. Women are likely to get these in the vaginal areas. Some clients also tend to get it in the corners of their mouths where they can feel like a small cut. When your nails are affected, that is called onychomycosis. This is a fungal infection of the fingernails and/or toenails and is also more common in those with diabetes. A provider will need to prescribe anti-fungal medications to resolve these infections.
Vitiligo affects your skin pigment or color and is more common for Type I diabetics. This autoimmune disease causes the cells that make your skin color to not produce pigment. Visually, these patches of skin are discolored and are usually located on your chest and stomach, but can also show up on the face, nose, eyes, or other locations on your body. Steroid creams and ultraviolet light treatments are a few treatment options are available. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher on the discolored skin patches. We recommend Epionce Ultra Shield 50.
When you have issues with your heart and blood vessels, it could be atherosclerosis—a narrowing of blood vessels. This can affect blood supply to your skin and cause changes like hair loss and thinning, shiny skin on the shins, discolored and thickened toenails, and cold skin. Because the blood carries the white blood cells that help fight infection, your legs and feet can heal more slowly when they are injured. Due to poor blood flow, the skin on your toes, fingers, and hands becomes thick, waxy, and tight. This is called digital sclerosis, and it can also make your fingers joints stiff. By working on controlling your diabetes you can get some relief with this condition.
We all know that controlling your diabetes can be difficult and challenging. If you are noticing any of these things, then I encourage you to have honest conversations with whoever is helping you with your diabetes. If you feel like you need extra help from a skin specialist, then one of our providers would be more than happy to see you! Call us at CT Derm at 208-452-7450, or send us a message online.