Diabetes & Eczema (Itchy Skin): What’s the Connection, Complications & Treatment

Diabetes is today affecting a large population of people across the world. There are two things which are mainly responsible for the disease. The first is the lack of proper production of insulin by the pancreas or due to the improper use of insulin in the human body. This, in turn, gives rise to the blood sugar level or the glucose level in the body. Insulin is a very important hormone to keep the body running and is hugely responsible for the energy that is utilized by our cells.

Diabetes is something that should be handled with great care. There are several precautions which need to be maintained along with the disease. It is only through a proper lifestyle, a healthy diet, and other measures that the disease can be kept under control. Not only this, what makes the disease highly complicated and feared for is the numerous other adverse health effects that it brings along with it. A few of them include heart and kidney disorders. Skin disorders like eczema are also very common in patients with diabetes. Eczema causes a lot of skin irritation and itching and hence should be avoided in all circumstances.

In this article, we will try to find out the answer to the relation between diabetes and eczema. We will first try to understand the meaning, causes, and symptoms of eczema and then deeply analyze the close interconnection between diabetes and the skin disorder. We shall further deep dive into understanding the complications and the treatment which can help cure eczema. Hence, let us now explore the article: ‘Diabetes and Eczema: What’s the connection, complications, and treatment’.

Table of Contents

Understanding Eczema

Before we analyze and try to understand the connection and interlink between diabetes and eczema, let us first understand the very meaning of the word eczema and its related symptoms.

Eczema is a skin disorder where the skin of our body develops rash or blisters like structure in different parts. It is often accompanied by a lot of itchiness and irritation on the skin. The patches of the skin become extremely dry and sometimes inflammation is also caused. The skin condition is often known to start during a person’s childhood but it can appear in adults too in a few cases. A topic Dermatitis is also a common type of eczema.

Diabetes and Eczema

It is a known fact that our skin keeps itself healthy by giving out certain type and quantity of natural oils. These natural oils further help the skin to resist any kind of infection causing bacteria and fungus. Eczema is a condition where our body fails to release these natural oils, thereby making the skin very vulnerable to infections and the related skin diseases.

What Causes Eczema and What are Its Symptoms?

In order to better understand the relation between diabetes and eczema, we need to understand the causes of the disease first. In this paragraph, we shall also see what are the related symptoms of Eczema.

The Causes of Eczema are as follows:

The D6D enzyme, which is highly essential for the skin to release the all essential natural oils and also for maintaining the sound health of the skin is known to be deeply affected as a result of certain genetic and environmental factors. This remains the most important cause as to why the skin is unable to produce the natural oils.

Besides, there are a host of environmental factors which exposes the skin to a lot of irritants. These environmental factors may include irritants such as soap, detergents, and the likes, or several harmful bacteria and viruses, dairy products, soy products, stress, or even hormonal changes, particularly in women patients.

The major symptoms of eczema are as follows:

  • The symptoms mainly include rashes and red scars on different parts of the body
  • These rashes often take the shape of bubbles at times.
  • Rashes tend to become highly bumpy and ugly looking.
  • In adults, rashes usually develop on the lower parts of elbows, knees, or even on the neck.
  • The area of the skin which has been affected by eczema becomes highly itchy, irritating, and even dry.

Diabetes and Eczema: What Is the Connection?

Having understood the meaning, causes, and symptoms of eczema, we are now in a better position to analyze the connection between diabetes itchy skin.

Diabetes is known to cause a lot of skin disorders amongst patients suffering from the disease. Research conducted by the various experts have suggested that out of three diabetes patients, at least one patient is known to suffer from the skin disorder of various types. Amongst these skin disorders is eczema.

Let us further analyze how the two are interconnected:

  • As we all know by now, that one of the most important causes of diabetes includes the increase in the blood sugar or glucose level of the body. The same reason which causes diabetes is also responsible for the skin disorder. When there is too much sugar in our blood, our skin is naturally prone to a lot of inflammation and other related disorders.
  • When we eat a lot of sugar either directly or in the form of food which consists of a lot of sugar in it, the different enzymes present in the body work towards breaking down the carbohydrates, which, in turn, raises the levels of insulin in the body. Hence, both diabetes and eczema are closely interlinked.
  • People suffering from eczema are often more obese than people who are healthy and not suffering from the same. This further increases the chances of an eczema patient to contract diabetes.
  • It is a known fact that due to certain psychological conditions which are the after effects of the skin disorder, patients suffering from eczema are known to smoke and drink comparatively more than others. Smoking and drinking are known to cause diabetes as well.
  • Eczema is a disease which causes inflammation or scars on the skin. As such, the skin should be kept away from any type of sweat or moisture to the extent possible. Hence, patients with this disorder are recommended to limit or completely avoid exercise. This further is responsible for increasing the chances of contracting diabetes.
  • Finally, the eczema patients are known to have high blood pressure which further poses problems such as diabetes, along with other complications.

Type 2 Diabetes and Eczema

Skin diseases like eczema are highly common in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. In the following paragraph, let us see the close interconnection:

  • Skin disorders like the type of eczema are very common, particularly in the case of type 2 diabetes patients. The reason being that type 2 diabetes is generally characterized by high blood sugar levels in the body. This, in turn, is known to reduce the smooth flow of blood in the skin, causing damage to the important blood vessels of the body. Hence, with the above factors, our skin automatically gets highly exposed to various infections and inflammations.
  • When a patient is suffering from type 2 diabetes, he usually is asked to take medicines which will help in reducing the content of glucose which the blood of the patient carries. These medications are further known to cause a lot of serious implications to the skin.

Read Also: Type 2 Diabetes and Exercise: What are Its Precautions & Benefits?

What Are the Complications Involved?

Well, the eczema skin disorder is quite complicated and as such the treatment of the same is also not very easy. Let us have a look at the various complications the disease may give rise to:

  • Eczema, as we know, causes inflammation and scars on the skin area which it affects. This inflammation further is known to give rise to a number of complications of the heart such as stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.
  • As pointed above, patients suffering from eczema are more prone to alcohol drinking and smoking. This, in turn, gives rise to further problems including those of the heart and also diabetes.
  • Also, research and many experts have found out that people with eczema are known to suffer from high blood pressure. With this, the complications of the disease further increase to a large extent.
  • Further, one of the other complications attached to eczema is that due to high inflammation which is caused in the skin and also due to the lack of exercise recommended to the patients with eczema, the patients with this skin disorder have high levels of cholesterol. As we already know cholesterol is not at all good for the overall health of the human body and gives rise to a host of other complications.
  • Patients are also known to suffer from a lot of sleep disorders, which further brings a lot of complications.
  • One of the prime reasons which cause eczema is the inefficient functioning of the enzyme D6D. When the enzyme does not function efficiently, there is a lack of GLA in the body. Now the GLA is mainly responsible for the proper functioning of the brain, the nerves, and other essential parts of the human body. The inefficiency in the production of GLA causes diabetes and also worsens the skin disorders.
  • Finally, one of the major complications which are caused in the treatment of eczema is the fact that when the patient lives on steroids to battle the skin disorder, he or she further increases the chances of getting diabetes. The steroids are absorbed by the skin and this, in turn, causes resistance to insulin to a large extent. Hence, there are increased complications of not only the skin but other like diabetes, heart diseases, amongst others.

Is There a Treatment Available?

Although Eczema cannot be cured completely, there are several ways in which the skin disorder can be controlled. The treatments generally include a healthy and a prescribed diet, certain medications, and also a well maintained and disciplined lifestyle.

The treatment of the disease is mainly based on factors such as the age of the patient, gender, the symptoms, the level the disease has spread, amongst other factors.

What Are the Available Medical Treatments?

While the disease cannot be cured completely, some relief is received by the patients due to the medical treatments available. Some of the available medical treatments include:

  • Antibiotics and tables which treat the infection of the bacteria and fungus.
  • Topical calcineurin inhibitors which are known to cause relief to the level of inflammation caused on the skin.
  • Phototherapy which can treat the scars and blemishes developed on the skin.
  • Several creams and ointments go a great deal in treating the disease. Some of the creams available in the market include topical corticosteroid amongst others.
  • Finally, there are moisturizers which are available in the market and help a great deal in preventing the skin from getting too dry and patchy.

What is the Prescribed Diet for the Treatment of Eczema?

As noticed above, eczema can be controlled by following a disciplined and prescribed diet. Hence, let us see the diet plan which can help one limit the skin disorder:

  • The most important cause of eczema is the high sugar content of the blood. As such, try to avoid all those food items which contain a very high level of sugar, such as white rice, fried foods, etc. instead, replace these with food items such as buckwheat, oats, amongst other things.
  • As is recommended for all types of diseases, avoid fried food and all types of unhealthy fats.
  • Include a lot of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.
  • All types and sources of beverages which contain a lot of sugar, such as lime juice, cold drinks, etc. should be completely avoided as these can lead to further complications of the disease.
  • Include those food items in your daily diet which are high in a lot of nutrients and vitamins, particularly magnesium, vitamin B, amongst others.
  • Finally, include the use of healthy food products such as olive oil and coconut oil in your daily diet.

A Few More Tips to Regulate Eczema

Due to the wide variety of complications attached to eczema, it is of prime importance to keep the disease under control. Here a few easy methods which will help to regulate this skin disorder:

  • Regularly take bath with warm water and keep yourself as tidy as possible.
  • Wash all the bed covers, sheets, and different clothing’s you use regularly.
  • Try to use a soap which is very mild for cleaning yourself.
  • Do not let yourself sweat to the extent possible. This is of great importance because sweat will cause the blisters and scars to spread in different parts of the skin.
  • Avoid scratching the scars too much.
  • Keep your nails short as big and long nails will result in the breaking of the blisters which can further aggravate the situation.
  • Remember to gently dry your skin after you have taken a bath.
  • Finally, wear comfortable clothes so that the blisters do not get stuck to the piece of cloth you are wearing.

Read Also: Diabetic Skin Problems, Symptoms & Conditions

We hope that the post has been helpful in educating you more about eczema skin disorder and also in understanding the relationship and complications associated with eczema as far as diabetes is concerned.

Although as seen above, there is no permanent cure for the disease, there are ways in which you can keep the skin disease under control. Controlling this disease is extremely important as there are several other complications that are related to this skin disorder. In fact, both eczema and diabetes are interconnected to one another to a large extent and controlling one could mean that the impact of both the diseases is reduced to a considerable extent.  

Just remember, however, to get your blood sugar levels checked from time to time. You should also maintain a healthy diet and a disciplined lifestyle as cited above. Do consult your medical doctor and see what is the best possible way in which you can reduce the impact and complications associated with both diabetes and eczema.

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