ITCHING AND DIABETES

Skin itching or pruritus is common in those who have diabetes. They experience it more often than those who do not have the condition. Anyone diagnosed with diabetes should never ignore itchy skin, which is usually caused by irritation and dryness. Itchy skin is prone to infection and diabetics may not be able to combat the developing infections. It’s a good thing there are treatments available to help reduce skin itching related to diabetes. This way, the patient can avoid complications and become soothed.

What Causes Skin Itching?
Below are some of the known causes of skin itching in diabetics:
• Underlying skin conditions such as sunburn, athlete’s foot, Hidradenitis suppurativa, eczema, and psoriasis.
• Sensitive or dry skin when the season changes, especially during the winter.
• Skin products that are too harsh, like strong soaps, perfumes, and dyes that easily dry out the skin and irritate it.
• There could be damage to the nerve fibers in the skin’s outer layers, which is usually caused by peripheral neuropathy or diabetic polyneuropathy. The nerves of the hands and feet are the usual targets. When there is nerve damage, there are elevated levels of cytokines cause inflammation, which then lead to skin itching.
• The medications taken by the diabetic patient. There might be liver or kidney failure, which are conditions that cause skin itching.

What are the Symptoms of Itchy Skin in Diabetics?
The symptoms of pruritus related to diabetes depend on the cause:
1.Peripheral neuropathy. The loss of sensation in the patient’s hands and feet are also accompanied by a tingling sensation and itchiness. The itchiness can cause discomfort especially when wearing clothes and sleeping at night. The need to scratch may be too overwhelming to resist.
2.Necrobiosis lipodica. This is both a painful and itchy condition that causes raised bumps on the skin that resemble pimples. They usually swell up and form patches.
3.Various skin infections. When underlying skin infections cause itchiness in a diabetic patient, the skin becomes swollen and hot. Tiny blisters that produce a clear discharge can also appear.
4.Eruptive xanthomatosis. This causes yellow bumps that are like pimples. They are very itchy and tender. The bumps usually appear when the diabetic patient has high cholesterol.

Relieving Diabetes Itching
You can relieve diabetes itching by:
• Avoiding skin products that have harsh dyes and perfumes.
• Managing your blood sugar levels
• Applying moisturizing lotion after you dry off from your bath (Do not apply between the toes because this encourages fungal growth)
• Avoiding hot baths because hot water removes the skin’s moisture

Diabetes itching can be reduced or even prevented, if you eat the right foods and if you keep your blood glucose stable. Always remember to speak to your doctor, once you experience skin itching. It is always better to treat the itchiness once the real cause is pinpointed properly.

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