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Diabetes and Your Skin

Want another reason to get your blood sugar levels under control and keep them that way? Doing so can help you avoid many diabetes skin problems.

Still, skin conditions related to this disease are common. As many as 1 out of 3 people with diabetes will have one.  Fortunately, most can be or successfully treated before they turn into a serious problem. The key is to catch them early.

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If you have diabetes, a healthy diet does more than keep your blood sugar under better control. A good diabetes diet can also help prevent or delay the onset of complications such as nerve pain or heart disease. Although some people talk about a "diabetes diet," there's really no such thing, experts say. The same healthy diet recommended for those without diabetes will help you if you have diabetes, too. You may need to then tailor the meal plan to your specific needs, such as lowering your cholesterol...

Read the How a 'Diabetes Diet' Protects Your Health article > >

Common Skin Conditions Linked to Diabetes

Itching skin, also called pruritus, can have many causes, such as dry skin, poor blood flow, or a yeast infection. When itching is caused by poor blood flow, you’ll likely feel it in your lower legs and feet. Lotion can help to keep your skin soft and moist, and prevent itching due to dry skin.

Bacterial infections: Staphylococcus skin infections are more common and more serious in people with poorly controlled diabetes. When hair follicles are irritated, these bacteria can cause boils or an inflamed bump.

Other infections include:

  • Styes, which are infections of the eyelid glands
  • Nail infections

Most bacterial infections need to be treated with antibiotic pills. Talk with your doctor.

Fungal infections: Warm, moist folds of the skin are the perfect breeding ground for these infections.

Three common fungal infections are:

  • Jock itch (red, itchy area on the genitals and the inside of the thighs)
  • Athlete's foot (affects the skin between the toes)
  • Ringworm (ring-shaped, scaly patches that can itch or blister and appear on the feet, groin, chest, stomach, scalp, or nails).

A yeast-like fungus called "Candida albicans" causes many of the fungal infections that happen to people with diabetes. Women are likely to get this in their vaginas.

People also tend to get this infection on the corners of their mouth. It feels like small cuts and is called "angular cheilitis."

Onychomycosis is another fungus. It grows in between the toes and fingers, and in the nails. It causes itchy, bright-red rashes. They are often surrounded by tiny blisters, pus bumps, and scales.

Medicines that kill fungus -- called antifungals -- are usually needed to treat these infections. Talk with your doctor about the right ones to use.

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Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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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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