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Diabetes type 2 symptoms: Three skin conditions indicative of high blood sugar

Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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The global diabetes community draw attention to necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum (NLD) – a skin condition whereby lesions develop on the lower parts of the legs. Described as “shiny” and “red-brown” in colour, the patches can be between 1-2mm in size. As time goes on, these small patches can grow bigger and bigger, becoming progressively yellow in colouring. Interestingly, the presence of NLD preceded the onset of diabetes in 15 percent of patients involved in a research study conducted by MH Lowitt and JS Dover.

In the same research group, 60 percent of patients who had NLD had a diabetes diagnosis before the skin condition developed.

Meanwhile, 25 percent of the patients had NLD appear simultaneously with the onset of diabetes.

The development of NLD has been attributed to blood vessel damage – something that high blood sugar is notorious for.

Another skin condition associated with high blood sugar levels is acanthosis nigricans.

Acanthosis nigricans may be a common skin condition, but it is considered “one of the symptoms of diabetes”.

The distinctive marks look like darkened skin patches around the neck, armpits, groin, joints of the fingers or toes.

Those darkened skin patches may itch, and may take on a leathery or velvety feel.

Controlling blood sugar levels can help reduce the appearance of acanthosis nigricans.

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The American Diabetes Association added that some people with high blood sugar might experience diabetic dermopathy.

This skin condition looks like “light brown, scaly patches” that are oval or circular in shape.

Easily mistaken as age spots, patches of diabetic dermopathy typically occur on the shins.

Medical News Today pointed out that the marks may come and go, but tend to appear on both shins at the same time, usually measuring up to 2.5cm or less.

Diabetes UK listed the most common warning signs of type 2 diabetes. These are:

  • Going to the toilet a lot, especially at night
  • Being really thirsty
  • Feeling more tired than usual
  • Losing weight without trying to
  • Genital itching or thrush
  • Cuts and wounds take longer to heal
  • Blurred eyesight
  • Increased hunger.

Consistently high blood sugar can cause further health complications over time.

For example, blood vessel damage can lead to heart attacks or strokes – two life-threatening events.

People with high blood sugar levels are at risk of losing their eyesight if they don’t get type 2 diabetes under control.

How to lower high blood sugar levels

The NHS recommend exercising more often to help lower blood sugar levels.

This might involve going for a brisk 30-minute walk daily, which can be extremely helpful in preventing further health complications.

The national health body also advise to “drink plenty of sugar-free fluids”, such as water.

You also need to be mindful of what you eat, avoiding foods that can cause blood sugar levels to spike, such as cakes.

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