4 Serious Health Problems Your Dry Skin Is Trying To Warn You About
It's not at all unusual for this disease to affect the skin, says Helene Rosenzweig, MD, a California-based dermatologist affiliated with UCLA Medical School. When your blood sugar levels are chronically high, your body loses fluid at a faster rate, which, in turn, leads skin to become dehydrated. (Here's what one man ate to lower his blood sugar for good.) Diabetes may also interfere with your ability to perspire normally, lessening the amount of moisture on skin. If it gets really bad, your dry, cracked skin can become vulnerable to the bacteria that feed on glucose, leaving you prone to potentially dangerous infections.
Of course, dry skin alone is rarely a sign of diabetes. You might also feel extra thirsty, have to urinate a lot, and feel hungrier than usual. Fatigue and blurred vision are also common symptoms. Your doctor can probably diagnose you with a simple blood test.
MORE: 6 Signs Of Prediabetes Every Woman Should Know
The thyroid gland produces hormones that keep the body’s cells humming along. When these hormone levels become too low (aka hypothyroidism), everything else starts slowing down—hence the reason you may feel colder, tire more easily, and become forgetful, depressed, and constipated. And, because thyroid hormones have receptors in the skin and play a role in ensuring that new cells continue to replace those that are constantly being lost, it’s also why your skin may become dry, rough, and scaly, according to an article published in the journalDermato Endocrinology.
Your doctor can confirm or rule out a thyroid disorder by ordering a series of blood tests. If you're diagnosed with hypothyroidism, you'll likely need prescription meds to get your hormonal levels back to where they should be—though lifestyle changes like eating more foods high in iodine, selenium, and zinc can also make a big impact, says Ann Myers, MD, author of .
MORE:4 Signs Of Thyroid Cancer You Should Watch Out For
If you have a thick, rough, scaly red patch that bleeds if it gets bumped or scraped, you could be dealing with squamous cell carcinoma. The second-most common form of skin cancer, SCC might also look like a wart or open sore with a raised border and crusted surface. Regardless of its specific appearance, one thing is certain: SCC is persistent, or a patch might heal and then return.
MORE:5 Signs Of Skin Cancer Other Than A New Mole
SCC is mainly caused by cumulative UV exposure, so it usually crops up in areas frequently exposed to the sun (like your face). It's easily treatable, but it's important to catch it early; if allowed to grow, SCC can become disfiguring and rarely deadly. "In dermatology, things that are simple tend to go away," says Rosenzweig.
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