Diabetes and the skin: be aware
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