Many people tend to forget that the skin is an important organ and it can tell a lot of information about what is going on inside of your body. Your skin is your first line of defense against infection and it can also be your first indication when something is wrong with your body. Many different health conditions cause skin changes that are obvious signs of an underlying problem and diabetes is no different. One of the most common ways that diabetes affects the skin is a condition called diabetic dermopathy.
What is Diabetic Dermopathy?
Diabetic dermopathy is thought to affect as many as 30% of diabetic patients because high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels of the skin resulting in areas of discoloration that most commonly occurs on the shins.
What Symptoms Should I Looks For? Diabetic dermopathy looks like small round or oval patches that are typically light brown in color. They may appear after minor trauma to an area. These spots may be scaly or smooth and are often mistaken for age spots. These lesions are not cancerous or harmful but should be evaluated by a health care provider.
Who is at Risk For Diabetic Dermopathy?
All diabetic patients are at risk for this condition but it does seem to affect the following patients most frequently:
- Patients with poor glycemic control
- Patients with a long standing history of diabetes
- Patients with diabetic complications such as retinopathy, kidney disease and neuropathy
What is the Treatment for Diabetic Dermopathy?
No treatment is necessary for this skin condition. These lesions may fade over time or as glucose control improves. Patients should have these areas evaluated by a health care professional to confirm a diagnosis of diabetic dermopathy because many more serious skin conditions may manifest with similar symptoms.
Diabetic dermopathy is only one of many ways that diabetes can affect the skin. Patients with diabetes are also more susceptible to skin infections, fungal infections and other skin changes such as acanthosis nigricans and xanthomatosis.