Diabetes: Signs and Symptoms on the Skin | Tom Bueno

You need to be aware of the changes in your body when you have diabetes.
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You need to be aware of the changes in your body when you have diabetes.

Having diabetes requires a routine of care that goes beyond medication or blood glucose monitoring. It is necessary to have discipline and be attentive to every change that our body presents. A different detail that appears can be a warning sign and, in this case, the skin plays a key role. When diabetes control is not good, certain signs and symptoms may appear. The main ones are:

  • Itch
  • dryness
  • Chilblain
  • Ringworm
  • slow healing
  • loss of sensitivity

To help you understand better about these signs and symptoms of high glucose that appear on the skin, I interviewed dermatologist and researcher Felipe Ribeiro.

Felipe Ribeiro

Felipe Ribeiro is a dermatologist and researcher

Tom Bueno:
How can the skin be affected by high blood glucose?
Felipe Ribeiro:
Hyperglycemia leads to an imbalance in skin function because it slowly damages the vessels. As a result, blood and water do not reach the skin, which needs them to function, ingest nutrients and hydrate. Another mechanism is that hyperglycemia affects the immune system, making the skin less efficient at fighting infections, even the simplest and most benign.

Tom Bueno:
What are the most common signs or symptoms when glucose is high?
Dry skin, scaling, itching, chilblains, ringworm on the skin and nails, wounds that do not heal, dark areas on the neck, armpits or groin, yellow spots on the legs and blisters that can appear without the person having been injured.

Tom Bueno:
Chilblains and mycoses are frequent for what reasons? Are there any different characteristics in people with diabetes?
Fungi, which are the cause of mycoses and chilblains, are naturally present on the skin of those with or without diabetes. They exist there in harmony with the organism, without causing disease. In patients with glycemic control, there is a breakdown in this coexistence and some fungi are able to access layers of the skin where they should not be. The immune system of this patient is no longer able to fight this advance of fungi and mycoses and chilblains appear.

Tom Bueno:
What is Pseudo-acanthosis nigricans and why can it also be a sign of high glucose? Does it disappear over time?
It is the darkening that can appear most often on the neck, but also armpits and groin of people with insulin resistance. They are brown patches, sometimes with a rough or velvety texture and without any symptoms. With glycemic control they tend to disappear. Pseudo-acanthosis has this “pseudo” prefix to differentiate it from true acanthosis nigritans, which has the same characteristics but is a manifestation of cancer.

Tom Bueno:
If people have any of these signs or symptoms, what is the guideline?
To notice these signs and symptoms, it is essential that the person knows their body. Looking at yourself often makes changes to be noticed more quickly. If the patient notices something different on the skin, he should look for the doctor, who will take him to a dermatologist.

On the @umdiabetico profile on Instagram and on the Youtube channel you can follow more information about diabetes that will help you live and understand diabetes better.

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She's our PC girl, so anything is up to her. She is also responsible for the videos of Play Crazy Game, as well as giving a leg in the news.

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