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tyrram

high blood sugar ithcy skin

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hi ive been insulin dependent for 20 years and ive recently had problems with really itchy skin which seems to get alot worse when my blood sugars go high like above 20. has anyone else experienced this ?? I thought it was an allergy but cant find the allergin and when i say itchy i mean really itchy to the point where im damaging my skin from scratching. I looked it up and one of the symptoms of high blood sugar is dry/itchy skin but i wonder how itchy. Nothing seems to cure it. Its been suspected that it is everything from a fungus to an allergy ive been treated for everything both my doctor and I are at our wits end and im going to a dermatologist in April. has anyone had what im discribing ?? I would really appiciate some help maybe it comes from long term insulin use ??

dontwannabtype2 likes this

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I've never heard of severe itching being a problem, but you're the third or fourth on here this winter with this complaint.

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Someone else is suffering with itching when they sleep, but cant remember the name of this poster! Someone suggested taking a pain reliever like asprin or Ibuprophen. My grand mother had the same problem and it was due to her high blood sugars. One of my first indications that my sugars are up is my feet bones feel tender, like Ive walked too far.

 

edit: I found it. http://www.diabetesforums.com/forum/type-1-diabetes/25963-itchy-legs.html

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I have high BG (300-600 mg/dL on a daily basis) and do not experience itchy skin anywhere.

 

In fact, around 400-450 -- I become hypersensitive. I don't want anything or anyone touching me. I also become very acutely aware of air pressure changes.

 

At those ranges as well, a shower actually hurts and a bath is incredibly irritating.

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I don't have itchy skin either, but for some reason my husband (who doesn't have diabetes) does. It especially bothers him on his upper arms. I bought Lanacane and he uses that on the nights it bothers him. Helps immensly.

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Sounds like most ppl have this in thier lower legs from nueropathy i have thats as well and i have thyroid problems too but the itch is everywhere esp on inner thighs arms and armpits back of the knees it spread recently to lower legs and was really severe there. I know the neuropathy feeling and am on elivil for it i dont think its that. My thyroid was way off last test so maybe that. God im really goin insane with this I just really need to find the cause so i can find the cure as well. I have to go to the doctor tomorrow again so ill just hope for the best I dont think she will be able to help me thx for all the posts though any other ideas would be appriciated. I've stopped my aspirin because I thought it was the cause ill try goin back on it. it gets so confussing im on so many different drugs all for diabetes complications.

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I thought itchiness was a common problem among diabetics who have a sustained high blood glucose, high A1C.

 

For 2-3 years before I was diagnosed type 2, I had very itchy skin. Not just on my legs, but that was the worst place. I probably did have high A!c those years.

 

I got my BGs down right after diagnosis and that itching went away. It has been 15 years and I still don't have itchy skin anymore.

 

So can you get your blood glucose down? (Geeze, everything seems to get better by lowering the BGs!)

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Just a different viewpoint for you...I also suffered from extremely itchy legs at first. My blood sugars were not related to the symptoms, and my A1c was around 6.2. I am a type 1 diabetic since 1971, and have always been brittle but pretty good control. (A1c's) I then thought it might be the chlorine in the water, or when my armpits and back of the knees started itching, I thought possibly an allergy to lotion, detergent, deodorant, etc. Then the itching became unbearable, before it eventually turned into very large hives. This all took place over the span of a few years. Once the hives started, I went to an allergist to be skin tested, and discovered I have several food allergies. It all made sense. Once I started eliminating the food culprits, the itching subsided. I have problems sometimes staying away from all the allergens, and when I do eat something that is negligable, I find I start to get itchy again.

 

It is odd that allergies have become so prevalent these days; I do think we tend to think only about the blood sugars. But I also think that we need to look at the possibility of allergies, since that is also an autoimmune response.

sweetstar likes this

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My A1C is 11.7 and my glycaemic control is appalling. I have been diagnosed as having uticaria. It appears as a very itchy rash ann can occur all over the body, but in me the face, neck, belly, shins, lower arms and thighs are the main places it appears, either as big red blotches or smaller red spots. I have scratched myself on my shins so badly that I have removed about 10x2cm worth of skin and had them scab badly. Scatching also makes the rash worse.

 

I have two theories as to how I developed it:

* Through high blood sugars, as you suggest, but the rash does not always occur jsut when I'm high or very time I am high. It seems to be aggrovated by high or low temperatures, or suddent changes in temperature and contact with water, but can occur at any time...

* Through the use of analog insulins... when I came off analogues last year the rashes did become less intense for a period of time and still aren't as bad as they used to be

 

I currently treat the rash using Piriton, I find I need two pills to stop 90% of the rash. I did use another drug whose name escapes me but it had very little effect. If you do take Piriton, you need to take it regularly because once your body has started a histamine reaction, you cannot stop it using the drug.

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I too suffer from "The Itch" during periods of higher bg. One theroy is that you become dehydrated and in my case I live in a very dry area in the winter time so couple that with not drinking enough water and poof I get "The Itch". Try lowering you sugars and drink more water, it works for me. :D

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I too have been having extreme itching problems mostly at night when I try to get to sleep. This had been going off and on now for about two years. The itching happens on my toes and feet and usually associated with cramps also. The itching it so bad that my doctor is concerned that I may get infections from scratching so much. Nothing helps the itch, not lotions, anti-itch creams, pills, meds, cold, heat, etc. You just spend the whole night with this horrible itch and try not to scratch it. My Endo thinks it's might be nerve damage. I have even tried Lyrica without any relief. This whole itching thing comes and goes. I believe it happens when I have not been in good control for awhile and then when I get back to normal levels the itching comes. So I try to keep as good control as possible. I am going on a pump hopefully in a couple of months. Something that really troubles me is that I remember about 9 years ago when I was visiting my sister in a hospice there was a woman who was there for her diabetes and she would cry because of extreme itching throughout her body. Her husband told me that the itching is like on the inside of her skin. This is sort of like my itching, you could scratch the itch all you want but you do not get any relief, it's like on the inside.

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I have urticaria (hives) too which is a whole other story but the Itch I was describing in my previous post is totally different. I did not want to confuse the two. The urticaria is a whole other problem however I usually could calm it down with meds and Benadryl but nothing helps the other itch.

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I'm up @ 4am with high sugars and itcing. The itchings worse when my sugars are high. I've had type 1 for about 25yrs. Several years ago I started getting small white heads on my back and soon they began to get on my chest, head, neck and even upper arm. My derm. prescribed doxycyline and clyndimiacine, but neither seem to work to well if my sugars are high. It really sucks, as sometimes I can't help but itch the spots till they"re sore I finally got a back scratcher, woopie! That should hold me till stem cell research finally kicks into gear =)

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I feel your pain. Began getting itchy 15 years ago when I was pregnant. Doctors thought it was swelling causeing it. Couldn't even go swimming or take a shower because of it. Started me on antihistamins, which helps greatly. Years pass, lotions, pills, everything topped working. Went to an accupunturist, he said I had yeast. Put me on a diet and it helped, but not completely. Went back to an old doctor she told me it was my blood sugar levels causing the itching and dry skin. Suppose to do a sugar diet, which is very hard to do continuously. Back on antihistamins (xyzal and attarax). Now need to get back on diet, but it is so hard. She didn't want me to go on the sugar medications because it makes you gain weight, which I don't understand. I'm trying to find some kind of supplement from the health food store to help regulate the sugar, will see. I've also read liver problems can cause itching, which I've had elevated enzymes in the past, which out knowing the cause. By the way, i'm also hypothyroid!

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I feel a little crazy admiting this...but, I get itchy palms...Haven t had it in awhile, only when sugar high.....so itchy......

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I'm always the weird one. I itch when I'm low not high. When I hit 60 it starts in my face and spreads to neck and arms. Gets worse the lower it goes.

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Before being dx'd seven years ago, I had the worse case of itching on my legs from the knees down to my ankles. It was so bad that I had very large white patches all over. The area would not tan and looked horrible.

 

When I finally saw my endo for the first time and showed him my legs, he said it did not appear to be Vitiligo, but more than likely I had scratched the pigmentation off. He also mentioned this was most likely caused by a long period of high blood sugars. OTC skin lotion, applied day & night for several months, took care of the problem, along with getting my BS within target range.

 

Karen

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Some time has passed since you left your message, but I just wondered if you have had any luck resolving the itchy skin. I am not a diabetic (that I know of), but I am hypothyroid like yourself. Another similarity is that I also became itchy when I was pregnant 2 years ago. It comes and goes and I can't find a dietary cause when it does flare up. It is mostly itchy on my legs, but when it gets worse it can travel to my abdomen. If you have found a solution or cause of your symptoms, I would love to know!

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Sounds like most ppl have this in thier lower legs from nueropathy i have thats as well and i have thyroid problems too but the itch is everywhere esp on inner thighs arms and armpits back of the knees it spread recently to lower legs and was really severe there. I know the neuropathy feeling and am on elivil for it i dont think its that. My thyroid was way off last test so maybe that. God im really goin insane with this I just really need to find the cause so i can find the cure as well. I have to go to the doctor tomorrow again so ill just hope for the best I dont think she will be able to help me thx for all the posts though any other ideas would be appriciated. I've stopped my aspirin because I thought it was the cause ill try goin back on it. it gets so confussing im on so many different drugs all for diabetes complications.

 

My feet are so numb from the Neuropathy, that when my feet itch, I can scratch the skin, but never reach the point of sensation which seems to be two or three inches deep. :eek: IT DRIVES ME UP THE WALL :eek:

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I have eczema, contact dermatitis from a lot of things and I am violently allergic to mosquito bites (and I live in South Africa where they are as common as dust). I deal with itch problems ALL of the time. Depending on the cause and severity of the itch, I have several ways to attack it.

 

OTC hydrocortisone cream (the strongest you can get) is the first line of defense: it not only soothes the itch, but the cortisone speeds healing of rashy skin. I also have an antihistimine cream that, if the cortisone doesn't work, this often does. If the itch is so strong that neither of those work, then I use a topical anaesthetic cream or some Solarcaine spray (it contains benzocaine, which actually numbs the skin). If none of those work, or if the itch is deeper than skin treatment can reach, I take a pain pill (we can buy mild painkillers containing codeine OTC here). Anything that will stop the tranmission of a pain signal to the brain will also stop the transmission of an itch signal to the brain. During mosquito season, if I get bitten, often the itch is so fierce and so deep that I cannot sleep--a pain pill will knock out the itch so I can.

 

Hope this helps someone!

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I have had diet controlled type 2 diabetes since 1995 or so. I have JUST been put on metformin, low dose. I already feel less fatigued, which I am very happy about.

My problem is that I have very itchy skin over most of my body...feet, hands, legs, stomach, face...and of course the worst is on my back where I have difficulty reaching.

The itching has been pretty steady for the last year or more. It is daily, sometimes all over, sometimes localized. I usually take antihistamines, but noticed today that there was no change in the itch. I use coconut oil to calm the skin, and it does help for a while. I was wondering if the metformin has a side effect of causing itch....because of working to control the BG, does it affect the liver too? Could the itch simply be due to yeast in the system? Just thoughts.

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My left arm is extremely itchy, and it has nothing to do with high blood sugars. My numbers are well maintained.

 

I use spray on Lanacaine to soothe the itch sensation. so far, it works. Good luck, because I know all too well that the itchy skin is catchy...

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Humm.. just in the past week and a half, I've been experiencing itchy skin, but not to the degree that I damage my skin. This is a very interesting post, I didn't know that diabetics are prone to itchy skin! My A1C is 6.1 at last testing about 3 weeks ago, it came down from 8.1 when I was first diagnosed in early Feb. 2012. My bg is anywhere between 130s to 170s at 1 hr after I eat, and it goes down to 150 or below after 2 hours depending of what I've eaten, just found out I shouldn't be having fruits with my breakfast! Still testing different foods that wouldn't spike my sugar, and trying to achieve a bg of 140 or below after I eat. Oh, I've also had elevated enzymes for the past 5+ years, the dr said that's because I have a fatty liver, but that hasn't caused me itchy skin.

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Yesterday, I started the day with high blood sugars 23.9 in the morning. I thought I had run out of insulin in my infusion pump. I refilled but when I took my blood sugar when I finished work at 2 p.m it was sitting at 24.9. Got a new infusion set inserted and new insulin again and tested again at supper time. Blood sugar was off the scale and I couldn't read it, just showed high on my glucose monitor. Put in another infusion set and bolused 7.4 units of insulin as my pump said at 1:13 a.m. Checked an hour later, and it was still too high to read. I bolused then units of insulin and checked and hour later and it was still too high to read. I bolused 20 units and an hour later it was 33.1. My skin under my armpits, on the back of my upper arms and on my chest and back was starting to feel hot and itchy. Not bad enough to want to inch, but irritating. In a few hours time my blood glucose was down around 15.9 and by 6:06 in the morning it was down to 3.4 and I had a glass of apple juice and mini chocolate bar. Itching was still there and I was getting cramps in feet and legs. Took alot of walking but cramps finally eased in my legs and I fell asleep. Woke up at 10:17 a.m. and blood sugar was back up to 17.4, so ate a half of a meat sandwich and bolused 5.8 units of insulin for 40 grams of carb. Still had itchy skin. At 5:06 glucose was back up to 33.1 so I bolused 6.7 units and syringed 10 units within 5 minutes of each other and will continue to do lots of blood glucoses. Will probably take a run to Emergency Room at local hospital as not sure why insulin is so high and want to know why I'm getting the skin irration in the upper regions of the body.

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My bgs have been horrible all weekend, despite taking three times the normal amount of insulin- but I happen to know that it is being caused by the cold/sinus infection I have at the moment ...

 

Unfortunately, when you are feeling poorly, you tend to go for comfort food, or crave things like oranges and other natural sources of vitamin C, zinc and the like; but most of them also have a fair amount of sugar orcarb in them, which makes blood sugar control harder just when your insulin is having a reduced effect due to the systemic inflammation ...

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