The aim of our study was to evaluate the frequency of skin manifestations, including the diabetic hand syndrome, in young IDDM patients. In addition, we studied the relation of the cutaneous manifestations to diabetes duration, glycemic control, and microvascular complications.
The frequency of skin manifestations, including the diabetic hand syndrome, were examined in 238 IDDM patients (disease duration >5 years) and 122 healthy control subjects in a cross-sectional study. In addition, we studied the relation of the cutaneous manifestations with diabetes duration, glycemic control, BMI, microvascular complications, and stratum corneum hydration using a stepwise logistic regression.
Diabetic skin manifestations were detected in 168 of 238 (71%) IDDM patients and in 18 of 122 (14%) of the control subjects. Ichthyosiform skin changes of the shins, scleroderma-like skin changes, tinea pedis, and dry scaly palms were detected in 48 vs. 7%, 39 vs. 0%, 32 vs. 7%, and 21 vs. 0.8% of the patients and control subjects, respectively. In the diabetic patients, a significant association was found between ichthyosis of the shins and sclerodermalike skin changes of the hand (P < 0.001) and between scleroderma-like skin changes and the skin dryness of the palms (P < 0.0001). When diabetic risk factors were considered, diabetes duration was significantly associated with scleroderma-like skin changes and ichthyosis of the shins (P < 0.0001). The latter was also found to be related to diabetic retinopathy (P < 0.0001). Keratosis pilaris was present in 21% of the patients versus 9% in control subjects and was found to be exclusively associated with high BMI.
Acquired ichthyosis is a common finding and the most prevalent skin manifestation in young IDDM patients. The development of several skin manifestations in insulin-dependent patients seems to be related to duration of diabetes and to development of diabetic microvascular complications.