Di­a­betes and the skin: be aware

Jamaica Gleaner - - DIABETES WEEK FEATURE - Prof E. Mor­ri­son and Dr D. Braham Con­trib­u­tor

NEXT YEAR April 20-22, the Univer­sity Di­a­betes Out­reach Project holds its 23rd annual in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence at Jewel Run­away Bay, fo­cus­ing on the skin. It is of in­ter­est that while ev­ery year an as­pect of skin, hair and nails is in­cor­po­rated in the sci­en­tific dis­cus­sions; but never be­fore have we had this who­lescale ap­proach on the mat­ter.

The di­a­betic con­di­tion causes sim­ple skin le­sions such as a mere scratch, bruise, prick, in­sect bites, etc., to read­ily turn sep­tic and even lead to ab­scesses and if not quickly and care­fully man­aged can end in gan­grene (death of the tis­sues).

Sore foot has al­ways been a fea­ture from the sur­geons who usu­ally im­press upon us that the sim­ple sur­face ap­pear­ance of the sore must not be taken lightly as it can go very deep down to and in­fect the bones.

The fun­gal in­fec­tion of the ex­trem­i­ties (washer woman’s nails, ath­lete’s foot); gen­i­tal and gen­eral itch­ing all over are more com­mon due to the di­a­betic pro­cesses and need early at­ten­tion.

Head hair gets sparse as well as gen­eral skin loses hair and this can be re­lated to the re­duced nu­tri­tion reach­ing the skin due to blood ves­sels blocked by the di­a­betic process.

Swellings un­der the skin espe­cially in the back can be mere fat lumps or range to the more deadly lymph ac­cu­mu­la­tion just below the nape of the neck.

Ar­eas such as the arms, neck, groin can get thick­ened and darken and can be the fore­run­ner of di­a­betes or in­deed in­di­cate that a re­sis­tant form of the dis­ease is on the hori­zon.

The above are only some of the sev­eral con­di­tions to watch for and be aware.

As a pub­lic health out­cry, be aware that di­a­betes is

very com­mon even among many who have not been so told, hence the care of the skin is crit­i­cal and again we give the ad­vice against abuse of the skin by ton­ing and bleach­ing as the skin be­comes even more sus­cep­ti­ble to se­vere dam­age.

The many beauty prac­ti­tion­ers who at­tend to hair, nails and skin are be­ing alerted to this up­com­ing con­fer­ence which will also hold work­shops at HEART’s Cardiff Hall re­sort, and cer­tainly as­sist in their qual­ity of care.


Dr Donna Braham

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