This Morning: Type 2 diabetes can be 'devastating' says expert
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Whether it’s pre-diabetes – meaning you’re at increased risk of diabetes – or you’ve had the condition for a while, digital sclerosis might appear. What does it look like? According to AAD, the back of the hands will feel “tight” and the skin will look “waxy”. Digital sclerosis can cause the fingers to become stiff and difficult to move.
If diabetes has been poorly controlled for a number of years, or you’ve been unaware of the condition, it can feel like there are pebbles in the fingertips.
“Hard, thick, and swollen-looking skin can spread, appearing on the forearms and upper arms,” warned the AAD.
This skin condition can also develop on the upper back, shoulders, and neck.
Sometimes the thickening skin can spread to the face and chest area.
Any area of thickened skin caused by digital sclerosis often has “the texture of an orange peel”.
Digital sclerosis isn’t the only warning sign of high blood sugar.
Another physical manifestation of type 2 diabetes is necrobiosis lipoidica.
“This skin condition often begins as small raised solid bumps that look like pimples,” said the AAD.
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As the condition progresses, the bumps can turn into yellow, reddish, or brown patches of swollen and hard skin.
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.
Another telling sign of diabetes can be acanthosis nigricans, which is areas of darkened, velvety skin.
These usually appear:
- On the back of the neck
- In the armpit
- In the groin area
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to poor circulation and nerve damage over time.
This can cause difficulty with wound healing, especially on the feet, where diabetic ulcers might appear.
These open sores might not feel painful because of the nerve damage that has been done.
If the wound gets infected, there’s a risk this could lead to gangrene, warned the NHS.
Shin spots are also another possible indication of high blood sugar levels, added the AAD.
These spots (or lines) create a “barely noticeable depression in the skin”.
The medical term for this skin condition is called diabetic dermopathy, and it usually appears on the legs.
In rare instances, the skin depressions might appear on the arms, thighs, trunk, or other areas of the body.
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