With all the serious conditions that diabetes can cause or contribute to, skin problems may seem minor to some. But people with diabetes are at increased risk for a variety of skin problems that can lead to more severe illnesses.
Examples Of Skin Problems
In addition to sensory neuropathy — a type of nerve damage that affects the nerves that sense heat, cold, pain, texture and other tactile sensations — people with diabetes are susceptible to other skin problems that, if left untreated, can become problematic.
These include dry skin, which can crack, blister and peel, and enable infections to enter, bacterial infections such as sties — inflammation of the glands in the eyelids; nail infections; boils or inflamed hair follicles; digital sclerosis — a condition that causes the skin on toes and fingers to become thickened, tight and waxy; and fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot and ringworm.
Taking Skin Care Seriously
While dry skin may be little more than an irritation to most, it can provide the ideal environment for infections to take hold; and because diabetes lessens the body’s ability to fight off infections, infections can become a serious problem for people with diabetes. Keeping your skin in overall good condition and paying close attention to any changes in your skin — from small bumps to thickening skin over the knuckles — can help to avoid many of these problems. It is advised that you immediately consult your physician or pharmacist about skin problems, foot problems, and even minor cuts, burns or scrapes that aren’t healing quickly. Many of these problems can be treated successfully if you act quickly.