Does Diabetes Cause Itching?
Diabetes is a disease that affects millions of individuals worldwide and can result in a variety of symptoms. Itching is one of the less well-known side symptoms of diabetes, but it can be quite annoying for sufferers. The relationship between diabetes and itching is unknown, however, it is assumed to be associated with elevated blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels rise, it can cause skin inflammation and discomfort. Diabetes can also cause nerve degeneration, which can result in itching.
Dry, itchy skin
Dehydration can occur when blood sugar levels are elevated. This is because the kidneys attempt to eliminate excess sugar through urine (1). Unfortunately, this has the unintended consequence of causing dry, itchy skin. To counteract this, drink plenty of water to hydrate the body from the inside out. Using a moderate moisturizing balm, on the other hand, will aid in moisturizing the skin and relieve itching.
Unfortunately, diabetics are more prone to skin diseases. These can begin because the skin is dry, which means there is little protection against microorganisms that cause infections (2). Furthermore, when a person with diabetes scrapes their skin, it produces microscopic incisions in the skin that may bleed, increasing the risk of germs developing infections (3). When you combine this with the fact that the person may have unclean nails, you have a perfect storm for germs to invade the skin. Because infections are itchy, this creates a vicious spiral.
Eruptive-xanthomatosis is a diabetes-related disease. Although the precise origin is uncertain, it is assumed to be associated to high blood sugar and low insulin. It is extremely unusual, however, it is more likely to develop if the person has excessive cholesterol and fat levels in their blood (4). This is because insulin is required to lower blood fats known as triglycerides (5). Yellowish pimples on the skin, commonly on the back, buttocks, and wrinkles behind the knees and elbows are symptoms. These pimples are generated by fat buildup (4) and are frequently itchy and uncomfortable (6).
The lumps may break and release an oily material in rare circumstances. Eruptive-xanthomatosis is more frequent in type 1 diabetics, however, it can also develop in type 2 diabetics (7). Treatment usually consists of improving blood sugar management. Corticosteroid creams or oral medicines may be required in some situations to ease symptoms. While eruptive xanthomatosis is not a dangerous disorder, it can be unpleasant, aggravating, and unsightly because of its appearance.
Granuloma annulare is a skin infection. It usually appears as a ring of tiny, spherical red, pink, or flesh-colored pimples (8). Although the pimples might be irritating or uncomfortable, they are not communicable. Although the specific etiology of granuloma annulare is uncertain, it is frequently associated with diabetes (9). Although it is uncommon, around half of all persons with granuloma annulare also have diabetes or another type of sugar intolerance. This itchy skin problem is common before a person realizes they have diabetes. It is more common in adults between the ages of forty and sixty (10).
Furthermore, granuloma annulare has been linked to various diseases such as thyroid illness, lymphoma, and blood cancer (9). Corticosteroid injections or topical creams are commonly used to treat granuloma annulare. Most people recover from the disease within a few months. However, it might linger for years in rare circumstances. If you have granuloma annulare, consult your doctor to determine the best treatment choices for you.
Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
Diabetes can cause diabetic peripheral neuropathy, which is a kind of nerve injury. It can cause a variety of nerve problems, including pain, tingling, and numbness. The itching skin is caused by nerve damage induced by the condition’s high blood sugar levels. When nerves are injured, they fail to convey the proper impulses to the brain. This can make the skin very sensitive, and the brain perceives even minor touches, such as clothes or a gentle wind, as an itch. Itching can be so acute in certain circumstances that it interferes with everyday activities and sleep.
Cytokine production is another cause of itchy skin in diabetic peripheral neuropathy. These are immune-related chemicals generated by the body in response to nerve injury (11). Diabetic peripheral neuropathy can be treated, and itching can be managed. As a result, if you have diabetes and are feeling itching skin, consult your doctor.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for diabetic peripheral neuropathy (12). However, therapies are available that include halting the course of symptoms and lowering or alleviating discomfort for as long as feasible. The most important approach to achieve this is to diligently check blood sugar levels, consume nutritious food, and engage in regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight. It is also critical that any prescription medicine be taken on a regular and consistent basis. Blood pressure should be checked and regulated by food and medicine as well.
Drugs can be used to treat the pain produced by diabetic neuropathy, but it is important to be aware that there may be adverse effects such as feeling drowsy or dizzy. Unfortunately, diabetic neuropathy is a complication of chronic diabetes, and nerve damage throughout the body can eventually lead to loss of control of the urinary system, resulting in incontinence. Furthermore, eating may become unpleasant as a result of the stomach’s inability to empty as quickly as it should. This might result in nausea, indigestion, constipation, or diarrhea. Furthermore, males may endure impotence, and both sexes may experience sexual dysfunction (13).
While there are several itch relief therapies available, the best method to avoid diabetic itch is to keep blood sugar levels under control. Diabetics can reduce their likelihood of experiencing this bothersome symptom by keeping strict glycemic control.
- Is Frequent Urination a Sign of Diabetes? https://www.healthline.com/health/frequent-urination-diabetes
- Diabetes and Skin Complications https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/skin-complications
- Itchy skin (pruritus) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/itchy-skin/symptoms-causes/syc-20355006
- Eruptive-xanthomatosis https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007746.htm
- Treatment of hypertriglyceridemia-induced acute pancreatitis with insulin https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4411402/
- Diabetes: 12 warning signs that appear on your skin https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/diabetes-warning-signs
- Eruptive xanthoma associated with severe hypertriglyceridemia and poorly controlled type 1 diabetes mellitus https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6735292/
- Granuloma annulare https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/granuloma-annulare/
- Association of Granuloma Annulare With Type 2 Diabetes, Hyperlipidemia, Autoimmune Disorders, and Hematologic Malignant Neoplasms https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8190702/
- Granuloma annulare: A rare dermatological manifestation of diabetes mellitus https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6857419/
- Role of inflammatory cytokines in peripheral nerve injury https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4268726/
- Diabetes-Related Neuropathy https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21621-diabetic-neuropathy
- Diabetic neuropathy https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetic-neuropathy/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20371587