Diabetic Dermopathy

This is a benign condition of the skin suffered as a result of diabetes. Unfortunately, the precise cause is idiopathic. However, it is correlated to diabetic neuropathy and diabetes-induced damage of the vascular system. Recent research has shown to back up this claim as they were able to show the frequency of dermopathy increases with the presence of pertinent complications, that is to say, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic nephropathy and diabetic neuropathy.

The tendency of dermopathy is to appear in the elderly age group as well as those that have suffered from diabetes for ten to twenty years. Badly managed blood glucose levels is indicated by the presence of glycosylated hemoglobin and is said to have a connection to diabetic dermopathy.

The lesion sites tend to be around areas of low adipose tissue, thin skin near bone structures such as the tibiae portion of the lower limb (shin); dermopathy may also be a heightened symptom of injury suffered in these parts.


The typical way in which dermopathy lesions appear is a patchy skin that can appear to be pinkish, tanned, dark brown or red in color is appears most prominently on and around the shin area. Other areas in which these lesions appear are the thighs, the lateral portions of our feet and forearms, trunk and scalp. The texture of these lesions can also be flaky or scale-like in nature and have a regular oval or sometimes round shape. Surprisingly, itchiness and burning are a rare occurrence in dermopathy.

Another interesting fact is that the appearance of four or more lesions only occurs in diabetic patients, while not in non-diabetic persons, further supporting the leading belief among medical professionals and researchers that dermopathy is correlated to angiopathic complications of diabetes. Therefore, it is recommended to be tested for diabetes as soon as a shin lesion appears so that diagnosis could provide the answer on what steps to take next.

As with most complications and ailments that result from suffering from diabetes, the immediate recommendation for treatment is proper management of glucose levels. If glucose is not properly managed, exacerbation of the lesions of dermopathy is imminent and the scaly part of the lesion can indent inwards, eventually exposing deep tissue.

Dermopathy is then, considered a marker that indicates to a person with these lesions that they should be tested in order to rule out diabetes and begin a strategy for glucose level management. It also seems that there is no significant difference in the incidence of dermopathy between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

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