Itching skin can be a symptom of diabetes especially if other diabetes symptoms are also present. High blood sugar levels are one cause of diabetes itching for a long period of time. In some cases, diabetes itching may be caused by complications such as nerve damage or kidney disease.
Itchy skin is known as pruritus (proo-RIE-tus) and causes dry skin. In older adults, it is common as skin tends to become drier with age. People having diabetes itching on feet, legs or ankles is a common disease that occurs during periods of too high sugar levels.
Itching can range from irritating to severe. Diabetes itching can be relieved through treatment and may be reduced if the underlying cause is treated. Depending on the cause of diabetes itchiness, the skin may seem normal, red, rough, or bumpy. Repeated scratching can cause thick areas of skin that may bleed or become infected.
8 Different Causes Of Itching
Diabetes treatment controls your blood sugar and maintains it within a healthy range.
Your blood sugar can increase for many reasons. If you forget to take your diabetes medication easily, it can be one of the reasons for the increase in blood sugar levels. Other reasons include eating too many grams of carbohydrates, dealing with chronic stress, inactivity, or having an infection.
Sometimes high blood sugar is the underlying cause of itchy feet. This is because blood sugar is not controlled and can cause nerve damage and poor blood flow in the feet.
1. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy
High blood sugar is uncontrolled and damages nerve fibers in your legs and feet. It is also called diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Symptoms like numbness or an inability to feel pain, a tingling or burning sensation, and itchiness.Neuropathy also causes the immune system to release cytokines that help to manage inflammatory responses. These proteins cause itching and irritate nerves.
2. Peripheral artery disease
Persistent high blood sugar also influences blood circulation in your legs and feet. This can produce peripheral artery disease, a type of circulatory disorder.Itching happens when poor circulation makes your skin dry when the natural oils in the feet dry up. Symptoms of dry feet have rough, flaky, and cracked skin.
3. Bacterial infection
High blood sugar lowers the immune system, so more chances of developing bacterial skin infections with diabetes. A cut, blister, or other breaks in the skin provides bacteria to enter your body. A topical or oral antibiotic kills the bacteria and helps your skin heal.
4. Fungal infection
Candida causes the Athlete’s foot, a yeast-like fungus that spreads in the moist folds of skin. A weak immune system also influences these types of infections, which can itch between your toes. A topical antifungal cream helps to kill the fungus and stop the infection.
5. Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum (NLD)
This inflammatory condition influences people with diabetes. Collagen damage is caused by changes in small blood vessels underneath the skin. Symptoms like thickening blood vessels, itchy prevent spots or pimples.NLD occurs on both shins but also develops on other parts of the leg. A topical steroid cream can stop inflammation and get clear these spots and pimples.
6. Diabetic blisters
By diabetic blisters, people having diabetic neuropathy are influenced on their toes, feet, and other parts of their body. Blisters are caused when blood sugar is too high and then produced by friction or a skin infection.But other blisters may itch some blisters that don’t cause symptoms like pain. Diabetic blisters usually don’t require treatment. Any blisters, calluses, or wounds should be caused by infection.
7. Eruptive xanthomatosis
This condition also shows uncontrolled blood sugar. It occurs in yellow, pea-like bumps on the skin that can itch.
These bumps influence to appear on the:
- back of the hands
8. Disseminated granuloma annulare
This skin condition prevents ring or arch- on different parts of the skin due to inflammation. They cause to appear on the:
Blood glucose control by taking your diabetes medication and eating a well-balanced diet, and exercising can maintain your blood sugar within a safe range. These all maintain healthy nerves and blood circulation, which can stop or relieve itching.
Remedies to manage itching include:
1. Use a moisturizer on your skin especially after taking a shower or bath.
2. Take showers or baths every other day.
3. In lukewarm water, take shower or bathe.
4. With harsh chemicals avoid skin products.
5. Avoid fabrics that affect your skin.
6. Choose hypoallergenic detergents.
7. In between your toes don’t apply lotion.
If you have diabetes don’t ignore itching. Sometimes it is a sign of uncontrolled blood sugar. There’s a risk of diabetes complications if left untreated, including:
- nerve damage
- organ damage
- skin conditions
Set up an appointment with your doctor and also search for a local certified diabetes educator to control your blood sugar.