Does Diabetes Cause Rashes?

There are a variety of rashes commonly experienced by those with diabetes. Some require treatment, and some disappear on their own.

There are many comorbidities to diabetes and skin issues are high on the list. Diabetes can cause nerve damage as well as impair blood flow to skin cells, which makes the skin more susceptible to damage, infection and changes in color.

Some Disorders are Considered Precursors to Diabetes

There are certain disorders considered to be precursors to diabetes. Believed to be the result of insulin resistance, Acanthosis nigricans is a skin disorder where there is darker, thick, velvety skin in body folds and creases. This is also typically found in people who are obese.

Another disorder is Eruptive xanthomatosis. The result of poorly controlled sugar levels and extremely high levels of triglycerides, this disorder manifests as firm, yellow, waxy-like eruptions surrounded by red halos. The bumps generally appear on the face, buttocks, backs of the arms and within creases of skin.

Disorders can Result from Impaired Blood Flow

Because diabetes causes inflammation and narrowing of the blood vessels, the small capillaries that nourish the skin with oxygenated blood and heal it with white blood cells can no longer supply sufficient quantities of either.

Diabetic dermopathy appears as shiny round patches on the lower shins. They don’t hurt and are generally benign. The condition is believed to result from impaired blood flow to the skin.

Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum results from changes to the collagen and fatty tissue that support the skin. The skin becomes thin and red and lesions develop, mostly on the lower legs. These lesions aren't harmful but if they break open medical care should be sought.

Disseminated granuloma annulare causes ring or arc-shaped rashes, often on the ears or fingers but occasionally on the chest or abdomen. These rashes can be red or red-brown but are just as likely to be skin-colored. Medical treatment is not required but treatment with a hydrocortisone cream may be helpful.

Sources: WebMD and Everyday Health

Photo by Meaduva

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