Posts for: February, 2018
According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes afflicts more than 25 million children and adults in the United States. Of these, 7 million do not know they have the disease. At some point in their lives, about 1 in 3 people with diabetes will develop skin problems related to the disorder.
Most skin conditions suffered by people with diabetes are due to immune-system deficiencies caused by high blood sugar. These outbreaks can be as harmless as dry skin or a rash, or may result in a serious infection. Diabetics tend to get the following skin conditions more easily:
- Bacterial infections--such as styes, boils and nail infections
- Fungal infections--such as athlete’s foot and ringworm
- Neuropathy--which can lead to foot ulcers, and in severe case, amputation
If not cared for properly, a minor skin condition in a person with diabetes can turn into a serious problem with severe consequences. The good news is that most skin problems can be prevented and treated with proper care and early detection. The role of your dermatologist can be very important in early recognition of skin conditions associated with diabetes.
Tips for controlling your diabetes and improving your skin health:
- Control your blood glucose level. Manage your diabetes by following a proper diet, exercising and checking your blood sugar levels on a regular basis.
- Moisturize. Prevent dry skin by using a lotion after washing.
- Inspect your feet. Feet are especially vulnerable to injuries due to poor circulation and lack of sensation that is associated with diabetes. Make sure your shoes fit properly, never walk barefoot, use extra precaution when cutting toenails and check your feet daily for minor injuries that can often go unnoticed.
- Keep skin clean and dry. Keep your skin clean by washing regularly in warm water and using mild soap. Gently pat your skin dry, paying extra attention to places where water can hide.
- Protect your skin from the sun. Always apply sunscreen to protect your skin from burning and blistering that can lead to serious infections.
- Inspect skin daily. Check daily for any changes in your skin, paying special attention to known problem areas such as the feet. Changes in skin color or temperature, swelling, pain or open sores that are slow to heal may signify a problem. Notify your dermatologist right away if you suspect a problem.
Keeping your diabetes under control is the most important factor in preventing the skin-related complications of diabetes. Follow your health care provider's advice regarding nutrition, exercise and medication. A dermatologist can help diabetic patients identify skin conditions and recommend the best course of prevention and treatment.
Brown spots and skin discoloration are frequent complaints for many people. The most common form of irregular pigmentation is hyperpigmentation, a condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin. Some people have abnormal skin pigmentation from a young age, and for others it is brought on later in life by sun damage or injury to the skin. Individuals of all ages, ethnicities and skin types can be affected, although those with darker skin tones are more prone to develop it.
Hyperpigmentation usually appears as brown spots and dark patches on the face, chest, arms and hands. This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin color, forms deposits in the skin. Sun exposure, acne, genetics and hormonal changes can trigger or worsen irregular pigmentation.
Not all pigmentation problems can be avoided, but you can follow preventive measures to control and reduce dark spots from forming. It is especially important to use adequate sunscreen, manage your acne and discontinue the use of any oral medications that may be contributing to the problem.
How Can I Combat Hyperpigmentation?
The good news is that skin hyperpigmentation isn’t dangerous, and proper treatment can help rejuvenate troubling patches on the skin. There are many treatments at your dermatologist’s disposal, ranging from topical creams and dermabrasion to chemical peels and laser procedures. Your dermatologist will work with you to determine the most suitable treatment for your particular skin type and problem.
Although a frustrating condition, your skin complexion can be improved and corrected. Talk to your dermatologist about the best treatment options for you.