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5 Diabetic Skin Conditions and How to Treat Them

November is American Diabetes Month, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just over 29 million people in the country have the disease. Unfortunately, people suffering from diabetes are more susceptible to developing skin conditions, making it an ideal time to take a look at some of the more common ones that people experience and what can be done treat them.

“Unfortunately, due to the rising obesity rates in the United States, more and more people are being diagnosed with diabetes,” explains Dr. Sanjiv Saini of MD Dermatology, with locations in Edgewater, Glen Burnie and Lexington Park, Maryland. “People with diabetes frequently develop skin conditions in varying forms, which should be looked at by a dermatologist who can often treat them fairly easy.”

Skin conditions may even be the first sign that a person has diabetes. If caught early, most skin conditions can be successfully treated. According to the American Diabetes Association, here are 5 skin conditions that people with diabetes can develop:

Bacterial Infections. While people without diabetes can also contract bacterial infections, people with diabetes can get infections more frequently. The bacterial infection can appear in the form of styes, infections around finger and toenails, boils, or infection of the hair follicles. Antibiotics and blood sugar control are the best treatments for bacterial infections. Bacterial infections should always been addressed by a doctor.

Fungal Infections. For those with diabetes, fungal infections are usually caused by Candida albaicans—a yeast-like fungus that creates itchy rashes surrounded by blisters and scales. Common fungal infections include jock itch, athlete’s foot and ringworm. The treatment includes a topical antifungal and a drying powder like zeasorb.

Acanthosis Nigricans. This is a condition in which tan or brown raised areas appear on the sides of the neck, armpits and groin. Sometimes they also occur on the hands, elbows and knees. It usually affects people who are very overweight. The best treatment is to lose weight; however, some creams can help the spots look better.

Diabetic Dermopathy. Diabetes can cause changes in the small blood vessels. These changes can cause skin problems called diabetic dermopathy. Dermopathy often looks like light brown, scaly patches. These patches may be oval or circular. Some people mistake them for age spots. This disorder most often occurs on the front of both legs. But the legs may not be affected to the same degree. The patches do not hurt, open up, or itch. There is no specific treatment for this.

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