If you have diabetes and itchy skin you are not alone. The causes and treatment of itching related to diabetes is not mysterious. Let’s see what we can do to stop that itchy feeling.
Localized itching is often caused by diabetes, because of complications arising from improperly managed blood sugar levels. This manifests itself in a number of ways but most commonly it is a yeast or fungus infection, dry skin, or poor circulation. Several skin diseases are also more common in diabetics, typically due to poor circulation.
If poor circulation is the cause, your lower legs are often the itchiest areas. Often you can self treat these areas by limiting the number of baths you take, especially if the humidity level is low. Mild moisturized soap can reduce itching as can skin cream applied after a bath or shower (as well as other times).
No one likes to think about getting a fungus infection. It sounds gross and can look gross. However, we are all adults here and we know that these things do happen through no fault of our own. You do know this right?
The most common diabetes related fungus infection is caused by the candida albicans fungus. This is yeast like fungus that can cause rashes along with tiny blisters and scales in moist areas of the body. Particularly susceptible areas for infection include the genital area, under breasts, armpits, and around nails, fingers and toes.
You may have heard of some common fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm), vaginal infection and jock itch. There is no “self help” option here. Get to the doctor and get a prescription to take care of this problem. I don’t know about you, but just writing this makes me feel a bit itchy!
Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum
Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum (NLD) can be caused by changes in the blood vessels. NLD looks like large deep spots on the skin. Usually, the disorder begins as a dull red raised area. As it gets worse, a shiny scar like spot develops along with a violet border.
You may be able to see your blood vessels a bit easier under the skin. Let’s make no bones about it. NLD is itchy and painful. Sometimes the sores even crack open. The good news is that it is a rare condition. The bad news is that while everyone can get it, adult women are more prone to getting it. Sorry ladies.
Generally, the condition will go away, however, it is a good idea to see your doctor, especially if the sores split open.
So you are a younger male with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes. Do you feel any itching on the backs of your hands, feet, arms, legs or buttocks? Is there yellow pea like bumps with a red “halo” around them? If so, you may have Eruptive Xanthomatosis.
Eruptive X is typically caused by poorly controlled diabetes and usually goes away once you get control of your blood sugar. Often times the person also has high cholesterol and fat in the blood. Other besides men with type 1 diabetes can get Eruptive X, so be on the lookout.
While not listed above, allergic reactions to medication and insulin can often cause your skin to itch. Pay particular attention to rashes, bumps and indentations around insulin injection sites. Regardless of whether you take insulin, medication reactions are a serious matter. Talk to your doctor if you think you may be having an allergic reaction to medication.
Diabetes and itchy skin has a variety of causes. Those listed above are just a few. Don’t be afraid to call your doctor. Itchy skin is no fun.