Beneath the Surface

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How Can Skin Show Signs of Diabetes?

In support of World Diabetes Day, we wanted to discuss how diabetes could affect your skin. Did you know that dermatologists are always aware of unusual markings or skin changes that could implicate another medical condition? Being an expert in skin, hair and nail conditions, it is important to see a board-certified dermatologist if you notice any skin changes to ensure proper diagnosis. If necessary, a dermatologist will refer you to another specialist if your condition is a sign of a more serious medical problem.

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Skin Symptoms that Could Suggest Diabetes

Common signs that suggest internal trouble relating to diabetes include:

  1. New growths – red-yellow or waxy looking bumps on your body (usually on the arms, legs or trunk) could indicate high levels of triglyceride, which is often a sign of uncontrolled diabetes. This condition, known as eruptive xanthoma (zan-thoh- muh-tuh), usually disappears when the underlying condition is treated.
  2. Skin discoloration – hyperpigmentation or bronzing of the skin is caused when your body absorbs too much iron. This condition, hemochromatosis (he-moe- kroe-muh- TOE-sis), can lead to life-threatening conditions including diabetes.
  3. Change in texture – Acanthosis nigricans (ay-can- THOE-sis NIE-gri- cans) is a skin condition that causes one or more areas of skin to darken and thicken; often the affected skin feels velvety. This condition can be a sign of pre-diabetes, which increases your risk of getting diabetes. Making lifestyle changes before diabetes develops can prevent diabetes.

It is also important to note that some dermatologic conditions increase the risk of diabetes and obesity. For example, data shows higher diabetes rates in children with psoriasis, a condition marked by thick, red, itchy, scaly patches on the skin.

See A Dermatologist Today

If you want a dermatologist to quickly evaluate something about your skin, hair, or nails that concerns you today, start a visit online with DermatologistOnCall. Our network of board-certified dermatologists are ready to provide you with a detailed diagnosis, treatment plan and any necessary prescriptions within 24 hours on average.

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