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Care of Your Skin When You Have Diabetes

If high blood sugar levels have damaged nerves that go to your skin, you may sweat less, and your skin may become dry and cracked. Damaged skin becomes infected more easily when you have diabetes.

To prevent skin problems and allow for early treatment of any problems that develop, each day:

  • Inspect your skin, especially on your feet, between your toes, and around your fingernails and toenails. Watch for redness, cuts, scrapes, calluses, or blisters.
  • Keep your skin folds—such as in your groin or under your breasts—dry. Moist areas increase the risk of infection.
  • Dry the area between your toes well after bathing.
  • Use a bath soap that has a moisturizer added. Use soap only as needed (on your feet, underarms, and groin). Avoid using deodorant soaps and antibacterial soaps, which may dry your skin.
  • If your skin is dry, do not use bubble baths. Use a bath oil instead.

To prevent dryness and injury:

  • Use a home humidifier during cold weather and in dry climates.
  • Use a moisturizer after you bathe.
  • Wear gloves when you garden, do yard work, use household chemicals, or do dishes.
  • Always test the temperature of the water before you take a bath or shower, especially if you have peripheral neuropathy. Use your elbow or upper arm to check the temperature, or have a family member do it.

See your doctor or a dermatologist if you have a skin problem that does not go away.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJennifer Hone, MD - Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
Last RevisedJuly 1, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 01, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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