Diabetes InfoHealth

What Is Diabetic Dermopathy, More Than Just Dry Skin?

Healthy Living With Type 1 Diabetes What Is Diabetic Dermopathy, More Than Just Dry Skin?I’ve been a type 1 diabetic now for the past 17 years and I’ve heard of most of the associated complications associated with the disease, but I came across an article a couple weeks back about diabetic dermopathy shin spots and how they are more prevalent in type 1 diabetics.

Well, never hearing of it, it automatically peaked my interest and the fact that I’ve personally had a couple of sketchy spots on my lower legs over the years, I started to research diabetic dermopathy and what it was all about, so lets take a closer look!

What Causes Diabetic Dermopathy?

One of the more popular diabetic skin ailment (yay us!), diabetic dermopathy is found in more than 50% of individuals dealing with the disease. Diabetic dermopathy is a harmless condition and is likely the most common skin problem in people who have had diabetes for some time, or whose blood sugar levels are poorly controlled and remain high over a prolonged period of time.

The exact cause of diabetic dermopathy is unknown but may actually be associated with diabetic neuropathic (nerve) and vascular (blood vessels) complications, as studies have shown the condition to occur more frequently in diabetic patients with retinopathy (retinal damage of the eye), neuropathy (nerve/sensory damage) and nephropathy (kidney damage).

Diabetic dermopathy tends to occur in older patients or those who have had diabetes for at least 10-20 years. It also appears to be closely linked to increased glycosylated haemoglobin, an indicator of poor control of blood glucose levels.

Because lesions often occur over bony parts of the body such as the shins, it is thought that diabetic dermopathy may also be a magnified response to injury or trauma to these areas. Studies have shown that shin spots have appeared in response to trauma with heat, cold or blunt objects in patients with diabetes.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Dermopathy?

Diabetic dermopathy appears as pink to red or tan to dark brown patches, and it is most frequently found on the lower legs. The patches are slightly scaly and are usually round or oval. Long-standing patches may become faintly indented (atrophic).

Diabetic Skin Conditions & Locations Of Diabetic Dermopathy:

  • Shins (the pretibial area)
  • Thighs
  • Sides of feet
  • Forearms

It should also be noted that diabetic dermopathy does not typically itch, burn, or sting.

Appearance Of Diabetic Dermopathy:

Diabetic dermopathy lesions appear most frequently on the shins. Less commonly lesions can be found on the front of the thighs, forearm, side of the foot, scalp and trunk. Features of lesions are:

  • Round or oval shaped
  • Reddish brown color
  • Initially scaly but then flattens out and becomes indentedHealthy Living With Type 1 Diabetes What Is Diabetic Dermopathy, More Than Just Dry Skin?
  • Commonly occur on both shins

The presence of four or more lesions is almost always limited to patients with diabetes. People presenting with shin spots not already diagnosed with diabetes should undergo further investigation to rule out the possibility of early diabetes.

Diabetic Dermopathy Treatment Options:

Treatment for dermopathy is relatively simple (yes I just put those two words together). Your best treatment solution with this condition and your overall diabetic health, is to properly control your blood glucose levels. Dermopathy can be just one symptom of an overall state of health and diabetes management.

As for taking care of the itching itself (since I’ve personally dealt with this on several occasions), I actually used a lavender soap (Dr. Bronner’s lavender hemp soap to be exact). Its a little pricey at $4.29/bar but it works fantastic after about a weeks use, using it twice a day.

Lavender is great for all sorts of skin conditions and while I was ready to scratch my leg off a couple of weeks ago, I decided to give it a shot and it completely took care of the itching and healed the skin quite nicely. The best part, zero medications required. Simply give a quick google search if you want to try some, I actually picked mine up at my local grocery store in the all-natural skin care section.

If my article on diabetic dermopathy was helpful, please leave a comment right below my bio or hit the share button to share with your friends 😀

Thanks for Reading!


Chris - The Organic Diabetic

As a type 1 diabetic, I made the switch to an organic lifestyle several years ago after being diagnosed with Diabetes in 2006. Living with diabetes is hard enough, why make it more difficult by consuming products with chemicals, toxins and other harmful, unhealthy ingredients. To me, the choice was easy and just made sense. We hope you enjoy our blog! Feel free to look around and check out all of our products by clicking through the tabs above! Thanks for stopping by and also please be sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter by liking our pages below! You never know what freebies we will be giving away!! Don't forget to check out the website as well at www.theorganicdiabetic.org

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