Why does it matter if certain skin disorders are prevalent in people with diabetes?
The reason it matters is that your dermatologist may be able to help you or a family member get a diabetes test to determine if you have diabetes that is undiagnosed or pre-diabetes. Catching diabetes early can help you identify a treatment plan early to control it and prevent serious resulting damage to organs and lower mortality rates.
A 2016 an international study found certain skin conditions to be present in 51% or more of those diagnosed with diabetes.
Ten Skin Conditions which Could Be Linked to Diabetes
- Necrobiosis Lipoidica: This condition manifests with yellow, red or brown patches on the skin resulting in swelling and a skin hardening.
- Acanthosis Nigricans – This skin condition presents with a dark brown or black pigmentation usually found on the neck area.
- Skin Infections – Skin infections are common in people diagnosed with diabetes. Such infections are often fungal; they can also be bacterial (such as styes or nail infections)
- Granuloma Annulare – This condition shows up as red or flesh-colored bumps on top of the outer later of skin. Sometimes the bumps will go away and return. That could be a sign of diabetes.
- Skin Tags – While skin tags are common and generally harmless, the presence of multiple tags can be a warning sign of excessive insulin related to type two diabetes.
- Diabetic Dermopathy – This condition presents as light brown or slightly reddish lines or spots usually found on the shins and often referred to as shin spots.
- Rubeosis Faciei – This skin condition is common in diabetic patients and presents as reddening of the face, often seen as red patches.
- Pruritus – The simple term for this condition is itchy skin.
- Scleroderma Diabetcorum – Skin condition that is commonly seen with those who have type 2 diabetes. It presents as a thickening of the skin on the back portion of the neck, shoulders, arms, and the upper part of the back. It may be accompanied by lesion that appear red in color.
- Bullosis Diabeticorumas – This skin disease is uncommon. It is often referred to as the Bullous Disease of diabetes. It is strongly tied to diabetes, more often occurring in patients who have had diabetes for a length of time. It shows up as blisters that are often not symmetrical on the lower extremities such as the feet and toes.
If you are diagnosed with one of the conditions above by your dermatologist, a glucose test for diabetes may be recommended.
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with one of the skin conditions listed here, ask your dermatologist or primary care physician whether a diabetes test is warranted at this time. If you are concerned about symptoms appearing on your skin, make an appointment with one of our Board-certified dermatologists at Suncoast Skin Solutions, Florida’s Most Trusted Dermatology. Each of our dermatology site locations is accepting new appointments and can perform a thorough skin evaluation. Please call for details.
— de Macedo GMC, Nunes S, Barreto T. Skin disorders in diabetes mellitus: an epidemiology and physiopathology review. Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome. 2016;8: Article Number 63 doi: 10.1186/s13098-016-0176-y