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Diabetes Skin Conditions and Treatment in Buckeye and Surprise, AZ

There are many skin conditions that may indicate diabetes. If you have diabetes or think you might, our dermatology specialists at Regency can address the skin conditions that may be a result of your condition. 

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that affects the way the body uses glucose (sugar). We get glucose from the carbohydrates we eat, which are then transferred into energy. Diabetes affects insulin, a hormone produced to help glucose be processed from the bloodstream to the body itself for energy. 

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes

There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that causes the body to not be able to produce insulin. The onset of type 1 diabetes is typically during childhood or adolescence. Type 2 diabetes is from increased glucose (sugar) levels in the body over time, which leads to inefficient use of insulin, or insulin resistance. The onset of type 2 diabetes is typically in adulthood, and the risk increases with obesity.

Both types of diabetes increase risk for eye complications, kidney disease, high blood pressure, neuropathy, and can even cause skin complications. There is no cure for type 1 diabetes, but type 2 diabetes can often be managed or improved with weight loss, healthy eating, and exercise. Please see your primary care for management of the condition and your dermatologist for management of the skin manifestations. 

Diabetes-related skin conditions

There are many skin conditions that can be indicators of pre-diabetes or related to an existing diagnosis of diabetes. Many of these can be resolved or improved when your condition is well controlled. 

Acanthosis nigricans

This is a brown/black velvety thickening of the skin on the nape of the neck, armpits, or groin, indicating elevated blood glucose levels. This is often a sign of pre-diabetes. 

Skin infections and skin tags

Diabetes decreases the ability of the immune system to fight infections. Therefore, frequent and recurrent skin infections can be an indication of uncontrolled diabetes. 

Although many people without diabetes may also have skin tags, an abundance of tags can be an indication of underlying diabetes.

Diabetic dermopathy

This causes brown lines and dots, mostly on the shins in diabetic patients. 

Necrobiosis lipoidica

This causes swollen, red, hard patches of itchy skin on the shins. This condition can come and go. 

Blisters, wounds, open sores, and extremely dry/itchy skin

Blisters on the skin can occur spontaneously in patients with diabetes. Those with diabetes may also often have open wounds and sores because over time, diabetes can cause decreased blood flow and nerve damage which makes it more difficult for the body to heal. 

Xanthelasmas and eruptive xanthomatosis

Xanthelasmas are yellow lumps on the eyelids from high levels of cholesterol. Eruptive xanthomatosis causes small reddish bumps, which resemble pimples and appear throughout the body. They are often itchy and tender, and resolve once the diabetes is well controlled.


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