Dry, itchy skin
When blood glucose is high, the body loses fluid. Nerve damage from diabetes can also decrease sweating. Both can lead to dry skin.
To prevent dry skin, manage blood glucose levels as best you can and drink plenty of fluids. When bathing, avoid very hot water and use mild soap. Then, dry well and apply moisturiser, but not between the toes or in skin folds since excess moisture in these areas can lead to fungal infections.
Damage to the nerves that control sweating can mean there may be some difficulty in regulating body temperature; night sweats or sweating while eating and sweaty feet.
Urinary and sexual problems
A person with neuropathy (nerve damage) can have problems with urination (passing water) and sexual function. Nerve damage can prevent the bladder from emptying completely, which can lead to bladder infections. Urinary incontinence also may develop because a person may not be able to sense when the bladder is full. A man with this condition may have problems having an erection due to damage to nerves that cause an erection. A woman may have problems with vaginal dryness, arousal, or orgasm. Talk to your doctor or nurse for help.
Treating minor cuts
With poor blood circulation, wounds of all kinds—including minor scrapes, cuts, and burns—heal slowly and can become easily infected. In addition, high blood glucose may cause bacteria to grow and infections to develop more quickly.
Cuts and scrapes need to be treated properly because an infected wound can lead to complications.
- Clean the injury. Use soap and water or an antiseptic wash applied with sterile gauze pads.
- Apply an antiseptic ointment and cover the area with non stick gauze pads (dressing) to protect and cushion.
Know the warning signs
Visit your doctor or nurse any time you have a cut or scrape with any of these signs of infection -
- Red and swollen skin around a wound
- A bad smell from the wound
- Warm skin around the wound
- Fever with a temperature higher than 38C
- Sweating or chills
If you have diabetes, thoroughly check hands and feet for cracks, cuts, or any other injuries every day. If you care for someone with diabetes, regularly check the person for skin breaks. Immediately clean and bandage, and seek appropriate care for any injuries.