Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can cause skin symptoms and conditions. The feet of diabetics are not spared¹. What happens to the skin in diabetics? And, in particular, the feet? What are the causes? What are the complications? How do you take care of your feet when you have diabetes?
of diabetic patients suffer from xerosis of the foot1
foot lesions in a diabetic patient2
Skin disorders are common in patients with type 1 and 2 diabetes2. People with high blood sugar levels have 1.5 times more skin problems than those with normal blood sugar levels3. Among the most common problems is diabetic xerosis,4 which is defined as a dry skin condition5. The latter is partly explained by a decrease in the functioning of the glands that produce sweat. This makes the skin drier and more fragile6. Xerosis is the earliest and most common manifestation of diabetes and will mainly affect the shin area and the feet7,8.
Failure to diagnose and treat skin disorders, including xerosis, at an early stage can lead to the development of open cracks or fissures, which are susceptible to infections, particularly bacterial and fungal2.
Foot problems are common in diabetic patients. They occur over time, especially when hyperglycaemia is not adequately controlled9. Xerosis of the foot, with or without cracks or fissures, is observed in 82% of diabetic patients9. In addition, one study showed that the skin of a diabetic patient has, on average, three times more lesions on the feet than a non-diabetic patient10.
The combination of dry skin, loss of sensitivity and poor circulation increases the risk of foot infections in diabetics. The main complication that can be observed is called diabetic foot. It is defined as destruction of the foot tissue13. If left untreated, the wound can become infected with micro-organisms, have difficulty healing and can end in amputation if gangrene occurs. It is estimated that 10% of diabetics are at risk of amputation.
It is also believed that the majority of these amputations could be avoided, mainly through better prevention and more suitable daily care6.
Fortunately, the management of diabetes has improved considerably and current treatments allow patients to better manage their disease. The number of amputations due to diabetes has decreased significantly14.
In addition to sticking to dietary rules and diabetes treatments, it is essential for diabetics to pay special attention to their feet every day. Simple habits can be implemented to limit the risk of infection15:
If in doubt, consult a doctor as soon as possible to detect any hidden complications11.
Meticulous hygiene and care of the feet of diabetics is essential to avoid the risk of infection and complications.
Dexeryl Emollient Cream can be used to protect the skin and treat the signs and symptoms of dry skin, particularly the dry skin of diabetic patients.