Skin lesions are one of the many indicators that can suggest that an individual may have diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how the body processes blood sugar, also known as glucose. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Both types of diabetes can cause skin lesions, which can be a useful tool in detecting the disease.
Here are some skin lesions that may suggest an individual has diabetes:
- Acanthosis Nigricans: Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition that causes dark, thick patches of skin to develop in folds and creases, such as the neck, armpits, groin, and under the breasts. The patches may feel velvety or rough to the touch. Acanthosis nigricans is commonly associated with insulin resistance, which is often seen in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
- Diabetic Dermopathy: Diabetic dermopathy is a skin condition that causes light brown, scaly patches to develop on the skin, usually on the shins. The patches may be round or oval, and they usually don’t hurt or itch. Diabetic dermopathy is often seen in older adults with type 2 diabetes.
- Necrobiosis Lipoidica: Necrobiosis lipoidica is a skin condition that causes red or brown patches to develop on the skin, usually on the lower legs. The patches may be round or oval, and they may have a shiny or waxy appearance. Necrobiosis lipoidica is more commonly seen in women with type 1 diabetes.
- Eruptive Xanthomatosis: Eruptive xanthomatosis is a skin condition that causes small, yellow bumps to develop on the skin, usually on the arms, legs, and buttocks. The bumps may be itchy or tender, and they usually occur in clusters. Eruptive xanthomatosis is often seen in individuals with uncontrolled type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
- Digital Sclerosis: Digital sclerosis is a skin condition that causes thick, tight, waxy skin to develop on the fingers, hands, and toes. The skin may become stiff and difficult to move. Digital sclerosis is more commonly seen in individuals with type 1 diabetes.
- Bullosis Diabeticorum: Bullosis diabeticorum is a skin condition that causes fluid-filled blisters to develop on the skin, usually on the feet, legs, and hands. The blisters may be large or small, and they may be surrounded by a red or brown border. Bullosis diabeticorum is often seen in individuals with poorly controlled diabetes.
- Candidiasis: Candidiasis is a fungal infection that can affect the skin, nails, and mucous membranes. The infection is caused by the Candida fungus, which is normally present in the body in small amounts. Candidiasis can cause red, itchy, and flaky skin, as well as small pimple-like bumps. Candidiasis is more commonly seen in individuals with poorly controlled diabetes, as high blood sugar levels can create an ideal environment for fungal growth.
It is important to note that not all skin lesions are caused by diabetes, and not all individuals with diabetes will develop skin lesions. However, if you notice any of the above skin lesions, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider to determine the cause.