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Is Itching A Symptom Of Diabetes


Darker Area Of Skin That Feels Like Velvet

Diabetes. Symptoms & Complications

A dark patch of velvety skin on the back of your neck, armpit, groin, or elsewhere could mean that you have too much insulin in your blood. This is often a sign of prediabetes.The medical name for this skin condition is acanthosis nigricans.

Acanthosis Nigricans

Often causing darker skin in the creases of the neck, AN may be the first sign that someone has diabetes.

Take action
  • Get tested for diabetes

Diabetes Symptoms In Adults And Children

Diabetes is the term given to blood sugar levels that are too high for a sustained period of time.

The signs or symptoms of high blood sugar are typically the same for both children and adults.


Patients with type 1 diabetes usually develop symptoms over a sudden, short period of time. The condition is often diagnosed in an emergency setting.

Type 2 diabetes on the other hand progresses quite slowly. Symptoms tend to come on gradually, which is why they are often overlooked. Some dont experience any early symptoms at all.

The following early signs of diabetes are the most common:

Early Signs Of Diabetes You Must Know

Home » Type 2 Diabetes » 9 Early Signs of Diabetes You Must Know

Diabetes is sneaky.


The early symptoms can go unnoticed for months or years.

In fact, 1 in 3 people with type 2 diabetes dont know they have it.

1 in 3.

Most actually do experience the early signs but dont realise or understand what they are.

Early detection and treatment can have a profound impact on your long-term health. A 3-year delay in diagnosis increases your relative risk of heart disease by 29% .


Therefore by knowing what to look for, you can take control of the situation before it takes control of you.

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Diabetes And Skin Infections

Studies suggest that more than half of people with diabetes will develop a skin infection at some point.

Scratching and dryness can create cracks that let bacteria in. Its not unusual for people with diabetes to develop bacterial infections such as folliculitis, boils and carbuncles.


Itchy fungal infections are also more likely in people with diabetes, possibly due to high blood sugar. Infections caused by the yeast-like fungus Candida albicans often crop up in areas with moist folds, such as the armpits, groin area, under the breasts and between the fingers and toes. Infections caused by mold-like fungi called dermatophytes include ringworm, jock itch and athletes foot.

Yellowish Scaly Patches On And Around Your Eyelids

Diabetes and itching: Causes, symptoms, and relief

These develop when you have high fat levels in your blood. It can also be a sign that your diabetes is poorly controlled.The medical name for this condition is xanthelasma.

Take action
  • Tell your doctor about the yellowish scaly patches around your eyes.
  • Talk with your doctor about how to better control your diabetes. Controlling diabetes can clear the scaly patches.

Read Also: How Much Can Metformin Lower A1c

What To Do About Itching

In many cases, itching can be reduced by reducing blood sugar levels. If you itch when your sugar levels are high, its like an extra warning sign that others dont have. Use it and see how you can modify diet or behavior to lower glucose levels, reduce inflammation, and stop the itching.

Itching can also be treated. The ADA suggests, Limit how often you bathe, particularly when the humidity is low. Use mild soap with moisturizer and apply skin cream after bathing.


WebMD suggests using lotion to keep your skin soft and moist. There are also home remedies such as a paste of oatmeal and water, or aloe vera gel.

Some people can reduce localized itching by meditation. Breathe in and out a few times to relax, then focus on the itchy place and breathe into it. Pay attention to it, and you may find the itch goes away. Works for me, sometimes.

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.

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Diabetes And Itching: Causes Symptoms And Treatment

The American Diabetes Associations reports that approximately 33 percent of diabetics may have skin complications at some point in their lives that are caused by their diabetes. Some of the skin conditions may cause itching or dry skin. Diabetes and itching skin has several possible causes and treatments.

What Signs And Symptoms Are The Same In Men And Women

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

There are diabetes symptoms that both women and men have in common:

  • Excessive thirst and hunger
    • When diabetes occurs in women during pregnancy, it is called gestational diabetes. It usually is diagnosed between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. Like in type 1 and type 2 diabetes, blood sugar levels become too high. When women are pregnant, more glucose is needed to nourish the developing baby. The body needs more insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. In some women, the body does not produce enough insulin to meet this need, and blood sugar levels rise, resulting in gestational diabetes.

      Fortunately, for most women, gestational diabetes will go away once the baby is born. However, women who have had gestational diabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

      Risk factors for gestational diabetes include:


      Read Also: Medical Term For High Blood Sugar

      Why Am I Itching All Over My Body

      Itching all over the body can be due to several causes bacterial and fungal infections , eczema , liver and kidney disease , etc. Itching may be accompanied by a rash, flaky and cracked skin, a flaky scalp, spots or bumps on the skin, and redness. Not all kinds of itches can be cured with home remedies. Depending on the cause, treatments should be taken.

      Here are some of the most common causes:

      Is Itching A Symptom Of Diabetes

      • 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.

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      Severe Itching In Diabetes

      When there is severe itching, it is necessary to carry out a diagnosis, since there can be many causes, and the treatment of itching is predominantly etiological, that is, aimed at eliminating the main causes of pathology development.

      In order to diagnose the disease, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. It will take an inspection, a survey. The doctor during the interview collects an anamnesis of life and illness, in the analysis of which many important information can be obtained. It is the interview and the history that help the doctor determine the exact cause of the pathology.


      Having received all the necessary information, the doctor can already judge the causes of the development of the disease, the features of pathogenesis, clinical forms, make certain predictions. Then the doctor examines the patient. Usually classical methods of research are used, such as palpation, percussion, auscultation. If necessary, laboratory and instrumental methods of investigation may be prescribed, which depend on the organ in which the possible pathology is located.

      Silent Symptoms Of Diabetes

      Is Itching Skin A Sign Of Diabetes?

      More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, including 7.2 million that are undiagnosed. Additionally, 1.5 million Americans are newly diagnosed each year. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all diabetes cases. Diabetes has plenty of early signs, but some symptoms are subtle. Here are 10 subtle signs of diabetes:

      Also Check: Decreased Glucose Tolerance

      Itching Can Point To Serious Illness

      An itch can point to serious skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis. It can also be an indication of a serious underlying illness. These include liver disease, kidney failure, iron deficiency anemia, thyroid problems and certain cancers, including multiple myeloma and lymphoma.5

      Talk with your doctor if you have a skin condition or itching that persists. Seeking medical help is especially important if you develop a cut or irritation that wont heal or find that your itchiness is causing you to have sleep problems and feel anxious.


      For your overall skin health and comfort, a little daily care and attention will go a long way toward keeping the occasional itch from developing into something much more serious. Remember to do the basics: keep your skin clean and dry, moisturize, stay hydrated, and if you do end up with a cut or blister take care of it immediately.

      Cuts Or Wounds That Are Very Slow To Heal

      Its not uncommon for an individual with high blood sugars to get a bruise or cut that just does not heal.

      This is particularly common on the extremities that are furthest from the heart, like hands or feet.

      Why does this happen?: Sugar lingering in the bloodstream begins to damage the arteries and veins, which restricts circulation. Blood is required to facilitate healing, so limited circulation to a wound or bruise will slow the healing process dramatically.

      Also Check: High Blood Sugar Symptoms List

      What Is A Diabetes Rash

      Diabetes affects various parts of your body, including your skin. An estimated 1 in 3 people with diabetes will develop a skin rash or other skin problem at some point.


      When you have diabetes, your chances of having dry, itchy skin are higher than someone who doesnt have the disease. Youre also more likely to get other diabetes-related skin conditions.

      Slow Healing Wounds And Increased Skin Infections

      Diabetes Symptoms

      Lingering sugar in the blood wreaks havoc on veins and arteries disrupting circulation. Without proper blood flow, it takes longer for cuts and bruises to heal, and you are more prone to skin infections.

      Red Flag: Paper cuts, bumps and bruises take more than a few days to go away, cuts scab over repeatedly or wounds that last weeks to months.

      Read Also: New Onset Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

      And Yeast Infections Are Harder To Fight Off For Those With Uncontrolled Diabetes

      In those with diabetes, there is “a definite association” between one’s likelihood of yeast infection and how well-controlled their diabetes is, Vincent Woo, MD, a Canada-based endocrinologist tells Everyday Health. Though men can also experience yeast infections, women are more likely to develop the infection thanks to an increased level of blood sugar in the mucus within their reproductive system.ae0fcc31ae342fd3a1346ebb1f342fcb


      According to Daniel Einhorn, MD, a former president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and medical director of the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute in San Diego, this problem can be compounded by inadequately controlled diabetes. “Some women, especially those with poorly controlled diabetes, have some compromise in their ability to fight off any infection,” Einhorn explained to Everyday Health. This means that on top of yeast infections being more common in diabetic patients, they are also harder to treat.

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      Barely Scratching The Surface

      Diabetes Care

      Aaron I. Vinik Barely Scratching the Surface. Diabetes Care 1 January 2010 33 : 210212.

      Itching or pruritus is an unpleasant sensation that evokes the desire or reflex to scratch. Itching in people with diabetes for the most part suggests a skin condition such as psoriasis, eczema, sunburn, athletes foot, hidradenitis suppurativa, pruritus vulvae from monilial infections, xerosis and diabetic eczema, necrobiosis diabeticorum, allergies to medications, drug eruptions, and many other conditions. Most are inflammatory disorders. In addition, there are generalized medical conditions that need to be excluded such as obstructive jaundice , polycythemia that can cause generalized itching, myxedema, hypoparathyroidism, uremia, iron deficiency anemia, and malignancy or systemic internal cancers such as lymphoma or Hodgkins disease . When all have been considered and excluded, the question that needs to be answered is, Does the itching derive from a peripheral or a central mechanism?

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      Yellow Reddish Or Brown Patches On Your Skin

      Necrobiosis Lipoidica

      This skin condition often begins as small raised solid bumps that look like pimples. As it progresses, these bumps turn into patches of swollen and hard skin. The patches can be yellow, reddish, or brown.

      You may also notice:

      • The surrounding skin has a shiny porcelain-like appearance
      • You can see blood vessels
      • The skin is itchy and painful
      • The skin disease goes through cycles where it is active, inactive, and then active again

      necrobiosis lipodica.

      Take action
      • Get tested for diabetes, if you have not been diagnosed.
      • Work with your doctor to better control your diabetes.
      • See a dermatologist about your skin. Necorbiosis lipodica is harmless, but it can lead to complications.

      What You Can Do To Avoid Diabetes

      Does Diabetes Make You Itch?

      At the end of the day, all of these skin conditions can be avoided with reasonable blood sugar management. You dont have to be perfect everyone experiences high and low blood sugars.

      The American Diabetes Association recommends aiming for an A1c at or below 7.0 percent to reduce your risk of developing any and all diabetes complications.

      Also Check: Management Of High Blood Sugar

      What Are The Signs Of Type 2 Diabetes

      Some signs of type 2 diabetes can be subtle, because the condition tends to develop slowly over time compared to type 1 diabetes, per the NIDDK. In fact, it may take several years for symptoms to pop up, so you may not realize you have the disease until it causes certain complications, like heart issues or blurry vision.

      While having just one on this list isnt a surefire indicator of the condition, pay attention to whether youre experiencing several of these, Hien Tran, M.D., an endocrinologist with Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology, tells SELF. Simply having a dry mouth on its own may not be enough to prompt a doctors appointment, for example, but if that sign is paired with other symptoms on this list and you also have any of the risk factors mentioned above, it may be worth getting checked out.

      Now, here are the type 2 diabetes symptoms to keep on your radar:

      Having too much sugar in the blood is tough on the kidneys since those organs are responsible for processing that excess glucose, according to the Mayo Clinic. As a result, they work overtime to eliminate it from the body. As your body loses fluids, you may feel the signs of dehydration creeping in. So, you drink more fluids to make up for it, and the cycle of constantly peeing continues. Thats why frequent urination and increased thirst tend to be the two most common type 2 diabetes symptoms, particularly in the early stages.

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      Diabetes Can Affect Every Part Of The Body Including The Skin

      In fact, skin problems are sometimes the first sign that a person has diabetes.

      Some are cause for concern, while others may simply be a cosmetic issue . Regardless, you should keep an eye out for changes in your skin and talk to your doctor about any concerns you haveits better to be safe than sorry. Luckily, most skin conditions can be prevented or easily treated if caught early.

      Some of these problems are skin conditions anyone can have, but people with diabetes get more easily. These include bacterial infections, fungal infections, and itching. Other skin problems happen mostly, or only, to people with diabetes. These include diabetic dermopathy, necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum, diabetic blisters, and eruptive xanthomatosis. Expand the items below to learn more about each skin condition and discover helpful skin care tips.

      Read Also: Differential Diagnosis For Elevated Blood Sugar

      Unexpected And Unintentional Weight Loss

      Rapid and unintentional weight loss is one of the more obvious signs of diabetes. This could be anywhere from 5-10 kg in a matter of weeks or months.

      This symptom is much more typical of those with type 1 diabetes, where sugar metabolism can shutdown very quickly.

      Why does this happen?: Without new energy coming into the cells, the body is tricked into thinking you are in starvation. In order to provide energy, the body responds by breaking down protein in the muscle, which leads to muscle deterioration and the unexpected weight loss.

      High Blood Sugar And Your Skin

      Why Do People with Diabetes Get Itchy 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!

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