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Is Itching A Sign Of Diabetes


Is Itching A Symptom Of Diabetes

Is Itchy Skin sign of Diabetes? – Dr. Swetha Sunny Paul
  • Certified Endocrinologist

Diabetes can affect every part of the body, including the skin. Itchy skin is a common symptom seen in people with diabetes.

A person might experience frequent itching, but the critical factor is the duration a person has had these complaints.

The symptoms vary and depend on the cause, which could be acute or chronic .

Lets look at some of the common chronic causes for this symptom:


  • Itching can be a result of nerve fiber damage in the outer layers of skin, a condition called diabetic polyneuropathy or peripheral neuropathy.
  • These are usual complications of diabetes that develop when glucose levels are elevated for a prolonged duration of time, which could be at multiple small time durations in a day .
  • It leads to damage in nerve fibers surrounding the hands and, most often, at the bottom of the feet. Before this type of nerve damage starts, it can be associated with high inflammatory response levels, which can also contribute to the problem.
  • Persistent itching among diabetic patients indicates the risk of nerve damage due to increased cytokine levels, which is common in people in the advanced stage of neuropathy.
  • In peripheral neuropathy, patients may also experience a loss of sensation, usually in the feet or hands. A tingling sensation might accompany these symptoms.
  • Itching is also common if the skin becomes dry due to the loss of sweating response in advanced stages of diabetes.

Disseminated Granuloma Annulare Causes Skin Itching

This skin problem causes raised, bumpy, or ring-shaped spots that are skin colored, red, or red-brown. Disseminated granuloma annulare most often occurs on the fingers and ears. Some people report mild itching. Typically, medical treatment is not needed because the rash usually disappears on its own without leaving scars. But ask your doctor if a topical steroid, like hydrocortisone, could improve your skin problems.

Why Should You Choose Ucf To Help With Your Diabetes Needs

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Endocrinology experts at UCF Health spend years studying the bodys delicate endocrine system. They have seen a variety of patients from all walks of life and work with a team of other knowledgeable medical professionals to ensure each patient receives robust, correct health care. Disorders of the pituitary gland are no joke and can severely affect ones quality of life.

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High Blood Sugar And Your Skin

In serious cases, high glucose in the blood can set off an immune system response and release cytokines into the bloodstream. These cytokines are associated with inflammation and can lead to itchiness in diabetics, just as they can affect people with eczema or viral rash.The worry is that diabetics with itchy skin are at risk of nerve damage, so if youre diabetic and get itchy, please do check in with your diabetic team!Diabetes are also more at risk of dry skin, and that in itself can cause itchiness. High blood sugars pull fluid from the body and the skin loses the moisture it needs to repair its defences. A compromised skin barrier will lead to further moisture loss, damage and cracked skin. And that, in turn, leaves the skin more open to infection and external irritants which can cause inflammation and itchiness.

Its a vicious circle of dryness, damage and itch!

Diabetic Blisters May Heal On Their Own

Itching &  Blood Sugar

Its rare, but sometimes people with diabetes erupt in blisters . The blisters occur on the backs of fingers, hands, toes, feet, and sometimes on the legs or forearms. These skin sores resemble burn blisters. Having diabetic neuropathy puts you at higher risk of developing these blisters. Heres the good news: They are usually painless and heal on their own in a few weeks. Keeping blood glucose under control is the only treatment for this diabetes skin problem.

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What Exactly Causes Itching

There are many things that can cause itchy skin for someone with diabetes. Sometimes, it may be as a result of damaged cells in the outer skin layers.


Most times, this condition is caused by peripheral neuropathy or diabetic polyneuropathy. This is a condition that often happens when the nerve fibers especially the ones in the hands and feet are damaged by a high level of glucose in the blood. Before the damage to these nerve fibers happens, the cytokines level in the body increases and thus triggers an inflammatory response which can lead to itching in the skin.

Some underlying skin conditions may also cause the skin to itch, including eczema, athletes foot, psoriasis, hidradenitis suppurativa, and sunburn.

Subtle Signs Of Diabetes You May Not Be Aware Of

5 Subtle Signs of Diabetes You May Not Be Aware Of

Could you have type 2 diabetes and not know it? Around 9% of Americans have type 2 diabetes, and almost 25% are unaware of it. The statistics for prediabetes raise red flags too. About 30% of Americans have prediabetes, and 84% dont know it. Plus, the number of people with both conditions is on the rise. The likely reason is higher rates of obesity.

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Diabetes Has A Direct Effect On Your Personal Health And Hygiene Here Is How

Written by Debjani Arora | Published : November 20, 2017 5:16 PM IST

Itchy penis could be an uncomfortable thing to deal with. Imagine being in a social gathering and the little one down there vies for your attention badly making you scratch your pants! You might be caught doing it in the public or have to excuse yourself from the situation to take care of your business. Whatever the situation it is bound to make you feel awkward whenever you feel an itch down there. But what should make you worried is not the itching part but why you are facing this problem at all. If you have a healthy life and abide by safe sex practices ideally your penis should not have this problem. But remember, an itchy penis is not just about STD or genital hygiene it could indicate a health crisis too, something like diabetes.

Don t believe us? There are studies that say people with diabetes, especially those with poorly controlled glycemia or blood glucose, are prone to developing genital mycotic infections. Men mostly suffer from candida balanitis which is prevalent among uncircumcised men. Candida albicans is the yeast that leads to penile thrush and causes balanitis or swelling of the glans or head of the penis. This could also lead to itching if the infection is not controlled.

The Symptoms Of Prediabetes And Mild Type 2 Diabetes Are Subtle

Diabetes Skin Problems | Symptom No 5 Of 6 Early Signs Of Diabetes

We hear a lot about type 2 diabetes, but less about prediabetes, a condition where their blood glucose level is above normal, but not yet in the diabetic range. If you have prediabetes, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the next few years is significant, unless you make lifestyle changes to lower the risk.

Treatment of prediabetes, also known as insulin resistance, is through lifestyle changes like diet modifications, weight loss, and exercise but first, you have to know you have it! Mild type 2 diabetes may also respond to lifestyle changes, particularly weight loss.


Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes can be silent diseases from a symptom standpoint, but its not silent based on how it damages the human body. Over time, type 2 diabetes can injure almost every organ in the human body, particularly the kidneys, blood vessels, heart, and retina in the eye. Studies now show that damage to blood vessels can occur even during the prediabetic stage.

Youre probably familiar with the most common symptoms of diabetes frequent urination, increased thirst, hunger, and fatigue. These are the more conspicuous symptoms that alert you that something is wrong. But diabetes can cause more subtle symptoms that you might brush off as a product of working too hard or not sleeping enough. Lets look at the sneaky signs of diabetes you might not know about.

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Diagnosis Of The Underlying Problem

It is advisable to see your doctor if itching is severe or persistent.

You should also see your doctor if itching affects your whole body or if other symptoms accompany the itching


Diagnosis of the reason behind itching may be identified through taking a skin sample or through taking a blood sample to check for signs of an underlying cause.

Itching As A Symptom Of Diabetes

If diabetes is causing the itching in men, it tends to lead to itching under the foreskin of the penis. In women, it can lead to itching of the vulva, the skin on the outside of the vagina.

If diabetes is the cause, you may notice other symptoms of diabetes, such as needing to go to the toilet more often than normal.

If you suspect you may have diabetes, see your doctor for a diagnosis.

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Skincare For High Blood Sugar

  • Have regular check-ups with your diabetic team.
  • Treat your skin with extra care: moisturise regularly with an oil-rich emollient.
  • Steer clear of irritants which can cause more damage: perfumes, sulphates , harsh preservatives, etc.
  • Use soap-free washes or bars: soap is renowned for stripping natural oils from the skin.
  • Keep baths short and warm, not long and hot.
  • Manage your blood-sugars as well as possible.

Home Remedies For Treatment

Common Skin Problems Linked to Diabetes

Yogurt, probiotics, and vinegar cloths have been used and found to be helpful. If your infection is severe, its not likely to get rid of it. The best thing to do is to perform preventative measures. In other words, take care of your vagina.

Some tips for preventing vaginal itching are listed below. Taking care of this important area of your body can pay off in the long term:

  • Use water and plain unscented soap to clean your external genital area regularly
  • Dont wash the area more than once a day as it can increase dryness
  • For vaginal dryness, use a vaginal moisturizer
  • Eat yogurt with live cultures
  • Use pads instead of tampons
  • Not applying hygiene sprays, fragrances, or powders near the vagina
  • Vaseline can help with dermatitis, inflammation of the skin on the external of the vulva
  • Avoid using scented pads or toilet paper or any other products that come in direct contact with your external genitals
  • Always wipe from front to back after having a bowel movement
  • Use hypoallergenic hygiene products
  • You may have to avoid shaving if you are sensitive

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Recurrent Itching Or Yeast Infections

Itching and redness can be a sign of a yeast infection. People with diabetes are at greater risk of developing infections with yeast, a type of fungus. These fungi live on most peoples skin but are less likely to overgrow and cause infection in healthy people with a normal blood sugar level. Many diabetics experience repeated yeast infections, not realizing they have diabetes. The most common sites for yeast overgrowth are the vagina and surrounding tissues, and moist areas of the body, like between skin folds. Whenever you experience repeated yeast infections, consult your physician and ensure your blood sugar is in the normal range.

Fungal Infections Are Common With Diabetes

People with diabetes are susceptible to fungal infections, especially one called Candida albicans. This yeast-like fungus creates a red, itchy rash, frequently surrounded by small blisters and scales, that is usually found in warm, moist areas like armpits or between the toes. Other fungal infections common to diabetics include ringworm, jock itch, athletes foot, and vaginal yeast infections. Talk to your doctor about the best medication to kill fungal skin problems.


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Increased Urination Is Arguably The Most Common

A significant increase in how often you urinate is a tell-tale symptom of high blood sugar.

As a point of reference, the average person pees 4 to 7 times in a 24-hour period.

Waking up during the night to go, even though you already went right before bed, is a common red flag.

Why does this happen?: Your kidneys are working overtime to expel the excess sugar in your blood. Sugar that the kidneys are unable to absorb must be urinated out. Therefore high sugar levels leads to more urination.

Are You Suffering From A Diabetes

Diabetes Symptoms

Do you have diabetes? Diabetes is the fastest growing long-term disease, affecting millions of people across the globe. In the United States, more than 25 million people suffer with diabetes. About 75 percent of them have type 2 diabetes, linked to obesity or being overweight. Researchers believe that the diabetes epidemic will escalate, and predict that in 2050, one in three Americans will have diabetes.


About a third of people with diabetes will develop skin problems such as skin sores or a leg rash. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association , some skin problems can be warning signs of diabetes in those who are undiagnosed. The good news is that most skin problems with diabetes can be prevented or treated easily if theyre caught early.

Keeping proper control of your blood sugar can prevent diabetes skin problems and many other diabetes symptoms from happening in the first place.

Many diabetes skin problems can happen to healthy people, but people with diabetes have a much higher risk. Diabetes skin problems include:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum
  • Skin itching

Controlling your blood glucose is the first step in preventing and treating diabetes skin problems. When diabetes affects your skin, causing skin sores or diabetes rash, it is a sign your blood sugar levels are too high.

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Ichthyosiform Changes Of The Shins

Ichthyosiform changes of the shins presents with large bilateral areas of dryness and scaling . Although cutaneous changes may occur on the hands or feet, the anterior shin is most classically involved. These cutaneous changes are related to rapid skin aging and adhesion defects in the stratum corneum . The prevalence of ichthyosiform changes of the shins in those with type 1 diabetes has been reported to be between 22% to 48% . These changes present relatively early in the disease course of diabetes. There is no known difference in prevalence between males and females . The development of ichthyosiform changes of the shins is related to production of advanced glycosylation end products and microangiopathic changes. Treatment is limited but topical emollients or keratolytic agents may be beneficial .

Diabetes And Itching: What Are The Causes Of Itching In Diabetics And How To Treat Them

Diabetes is a chronic condition that can lead to many serious complications, including skin manifestations such as itching or pruritis. According to a study, around 30-70 per cent of diabetics may develop cutaneous or skin-related diabetes complications at some point in their lifetime.

Photo Credit: Medical photo created by wayhomestudio – www.freepik.com

Diabetes can be linked to itching in many ways and may affect areas such as hands, feet, ankles, genitalia, arms, back, scalp and trunk. Studies say that itching mainly occurs in diabetics who have diabetic neuropathy or dry skin problems.

In this article, we will discuss some of the main causes of itching in diabetes, along with how to treat the condition. Take a look.


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Unusual Fatigue And Feeling Very Weak

Unmanaged diabetes will leave you feeling lousy, tired and lazy.

It can even be described as fatigue or extreme lethargy, where you are feeling too weak to do your regular everyday activities.

Why does this happen?: With sugar remaining in the blood rather than entering the cells for energy, you literally have less energy. The body is also expending additional energy to compensate for its irregular sugar levels. Kidneys in overdrive, coupled with regular sugar crashes and poor sleep starts to take its toll.

Poor Blood Flow Results In Itchy Skin

Is Itching Skin A Sign Of Diabetes?

Itchy skin can have many causes. In people with diabetes, a yeast infection, dry skin, or poor circulation can be the root cause. When poor blood flow is the culprit, the lower legs may be the itchiest part of the body. What can you do to stop your skin from crawling? Consider bathing less often, and use mild soap when you do. Slather on some lotion to moisturize dry skin, but avoid applying it between your toes.

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What Is Stasis Dermatitis

For stasis dermatitis, the valves within your veins become weaker due to the lack of blood flow. Eventually, blood can actually leak from your veins into the muscle, fat, and skin tissue in your legs.

Stasis dermatitis usually develops in the lower part of your body your legs, feet, and eventually your calves. It can develop in other parts of your body, like your hands, arms, and face, too.

A complete list of symptoms for stasis dermatitis includes:

  • Severe itchiness
  • Swelling that increases towards the end of your day, and decreases while you sleep
  • Very visible varicose veins
  • Crusty, red skin
  • Dry, cracked skin
  • An overall heaviness or soreness in the affected area, especially after standing or walking for a longer period of time
  • Painful to touch, in more severe degrees of the condition

The condition usually gets worse if ignored, and you may notice those areas of skin become thicker and harder over time and become more visibly red and irritated.

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