Skin thickness is primarily determined by collagen content and is increased in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). We measured skin thickness in 66 IDDM patients aged 24–38 yr and investigated whether it correlated with long-term glycemic control and the presence of certain diabetic complications. With univariate analysis, skin thickness was increased and significantly related to duration of diabetes (P < .001), previous glycemic control (P < .001), retinopathy (P < .001), cheiroarthropathy (P < .001), and vibrationperception threshold (P < .05). There was a negative correlation between forced expiratory volume at 1 s (P < .05) and vital capacity (P < .05) with duration of diabetes. Neither skin thickness nor ankle arteriomedial wall calcification correlated with abnormal autonomic function tests. When corrected for duration of diabetes, there was a weak correlation between skin thickness and glycemic control (P < .05) but no correlation with retinopathy, cheiroarthropathy, and vibration-perception threshold. This study confirms that there are widespread connective tissue changes in diabetes mellitus, although the biochemistry needs further elucidation.

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