If you have diabetes, it’s important to be aware of potentially serious skin problems related to the disease and see your doctor before the problem gets out of control. In most cases, skin problems in diabetes can be managed with early diagnosis and treatment.
Scleroderma diabeticorum: While rare, this skin problem affects people with type 2 diabetes, causing a thickening of the skin on the back of the neck and upper back. The treatment is to bring your blood sugar level under control. Lotions and moisturizers may help soften skin.
Vitiligo: Vitiligo, a skin problem more commonly associated with type 1 diabetes than type 2 diabetes, affects skin coloration. With vitiligo, the special cells that make pigment (the substance that controls skin color) are destroyed, resulting in patches of discolored skin. Vitiligo often affects the chest and abdomen, but may be found on the face around the mouth, nostrils, and eyes. Current treatment options for vitiligo include topical steroids and micropigmentation (tattooing). If you have vitiligo, you should use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to prevent sunburn on the discolored skin.
Skin Problems Linked to Diabetes and Insulin Resistance
Acanthosis nigricans. This is a skin problem that results in the darkening and thickening of certain areas of the skin especially in the skin folds. The skin becomes tan or brown and is sometimes slightly raised and described as velvety. Most often the condition, which typically looks like a small wart, appears on the sides or back of the neck, the armpits, under the breast, and groin. Occasionally the top of the knuckles will have a particularly unusual appearance. Acanthosis nigricans usually strikes people who are very overweight. While there is no cure for acanthosis nigricans, losing weight may improve the skin condition. Acanthosis nigricans usually precedes diabetes and is considered to be a marker for the disease. There are other health conditions that also are known to cause acanthosis of the skin and these include acromegaly and Cushing syndromes. It is thought that this health condition is a skin manifestation of insulin resistance.
Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!
Your level is currently
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.
Thank you for signing up for the WebMD Diabetes Newsletter!
You'll find tips and tricks as well as the latest news and research on Diabetes.
Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?
Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.