More than 34 million people have diabetes in the United States, and according to the American Diabetes Association, over 7 million of those are undiagnosed cases. 

With that number so high, it’s important to know the warning signs of diabetes (besides high glucose levels, of course). You may not have known that your skin can clue you in to the fact that you might have undiagnosed diabetes, are pre-diabetic, or your treatment needs to be adjusted.

Bannister Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing is sharing five diabetes warning signs that appear on your skin, courtesy of the American Academy of Dermatology


  • Yellow, Reddish, or Brown Patches on Skin


This condition, known was necrobiosis lipodica, usually begins as small raised bumps that look like pimples, and they turn into patches of swollen and hard skin as it progresses. 


  • Darker, Velvety Area of Skin


Dark patches or bands of skin on the back of the neck, armpit, groin or elsewhere that feels like velvet is a sign that there’s too much insulin in the blood. You should be tested if you have this condition.


  • Unexplained Blisters


People with diabetes can have blisters suddenly appear on their skin. They are not painful and generally will occur on the hands, feet, legs, and forearms.


  • Skin Infections


Infections that can be itchy, hot to the touch, or swollen commonly occur in those who are diabetic, and can be anywhere on the body. Getting several yeast infections each year can also be a concerning sign.O


  • Open Wounds/Sores


Prolonged periods of having high blood sugar levels can lead to poor circulation, which will keep white blood cells from being able to travel to parts of the body where they are needed to heal wounds. This is especially of concern on the feet, where wounds called diabetic ulcers commonly form. 

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