Often the first sign of adult onset diabetes, or Type 2 diabetes, is the exacerbation of a pre-existing skin condition, or the appearance of a new one. Damage to the nerves and blood vessels impairs the body’s ability to fight infection. When diabetes goes unchecked, not only do the chances of incurring fungal and bacterial infections increase, but the severity increases as well.
There are a variety of skin conditions that specifically afflict diabetes patients. Here are a few:
— Acanthosis nigricans
raised and brownish patches
— Diabetic dermopathy
small round bumps on the shins
— Necrobiosis lipoidica
diabeticorum – granular
— Eruptive xanthomatosis
small, roundish pink papules
— Disseminated granuloma
annulare – small bumpy lesions
According acupuncture and Oriental medicine, the skin and large intestine have a unique relationship. The health of the large intestine can be observed by the condition of the skin. One purpose of this internal organ is to absorb fluids and excrete wastes. Sometimes unusable or toxic material gets stuck and starts to putrefy, instead of completely exiting the body via the colon.
Although heat and toxins are normally released through the sweat glands, an overload of waste products can undermine this function and tell-tale symptoms of abnormal skin conditions may manifest. Depending on the type of infection or condition, the skin may react by producing heat, swelling, redness, itchiness, dry patches, or pus-filled sores.
For the patient with itchy, red, and painful sores on top of the foot, treatments may include the use of Quchi, a versatile acupuncture point used to clear heat and assist in healing sores or reducing fever.
To reinforce acupuncture treatment results, lifestyle and dietary changes may be recommended. Foods that can support large intestine and subsequently skin health include yams, pumpkins, string beans, celery, and turnips. Fruits and vegetables high in fiber will help keep food moving in the digestive tract. It’s when food remains undigested in the large intestine that pathogens and toxins may accumulate.
Drinking water periodically throughout the day will help the intestines stay lubricated. Warm tea can be especially soothing after eating a meal. Diabetics may want to consider eating smaller meals at more frequent intervals. Avoiding fatty, greasy or fried foods can prevent the large intestine from becoming overburdened.