Sugar Matters
February 24, 2015
The skin you’re in

We tend to pay attention to our skin when we think something is wrong and other people will notice, like with acne, burns or discolouration. Otherwise unless something hurts, we often pay it little attention. It’s a shame, because the skin does so much! It is a large amazing single organ, working to protect us from harm, regulate temperature, and even produce some Vitamin D to keep us healthy.{{more}} Not surprisingly, after the past few weeks, you already know I am about to say that diabetes can also affect the skin in various ways.

Those of you with Type 1 diabetes have specific associations that are not really CAUSED by diabetes, but can found along WITH diabetes, including vitiligo (light areas on the skin) and dry scaly patches that are part of a condition called atopic dermatitis. These are not harmful, but can be very unwelcome, depending on their extent.

In terms of diabetes’ direct effects, one of the main ones can be found on your legs. Take a look at the skin over your shins. Is it thin? Shiny? Discoloured? Has less hair than a few years ago? Bruises easily? If you answered yes to one or more of those, you may have diabetic dermopathy, which is a group of skin changes associated with having poorly controlled diabetes. The danger of this condition is that the thinness of the skin makes it easy to break and bruise. As you know, wounds in diabetes take a longer time to heal, so ANY break in the skin is a big deal. People with diabetic dermopathy need to be especially careful not to bruise or cut themselves – one little bump against the nightstand could turn into a major problem.

A follow-up to this is the generally increased chance of having an infection, including skin infections. People with diabetes have higher chances of fungal infections like ringworm, and bacterial infections like impetigo. On top of picking up these conditions more easily, you guessed it: they are more difficult to cure if your blood sugars are too high. So, who wants a fungus in their skin for months and months??? How about a rash that smells? Or a crusty patch of boils all the time?

Sounds good? I thought not…

Your tips for this week:

1) Get those sugars under control!!!

2) Be sure to keep a close eye on your skin, especially that on your feet and legs.

3) Contact your doctor anytime you have a deep cut, or any break in the skin that is not healing, smells, is more and more painful or is draining fluid.

4) DO NOT cut/lance boils, corns on your feet or other skin problems yourself. You could introduce some wicked bacteria into your skin and start a REAL infection there, which could become much more serious.

5) Keep your skin moisturized (lotion and Vaseline are good), but not always wet, as that can make a fun home for bacteria and fungi. Be sure to wash creases (between toes, under breasts etc) very well and DRY them.

Be good to the skin you are in; it’s the best armour you can have, ever.

Until next week, stay safe and healthy Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD

Medical Director Endocrine Care Group

Tel: 843-798-4227