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Sugar spots

Sugar spots or shin spots are medically referred to as diabetic dermopathy. They also known as pigmented pretibial patches. This is a skin condition which usually occurs on the lower region of the legs in individuals with diabetes. The small blood vessels are responsible for supplying blood to the skin. Sugar spots are thought to occur due to the changes in these blood vessels.
The spots may also develop when there is minor seepage of blood products into the skin. Diabetic sugar spots are very common in individuals with diabetes. Almost 50 percent of diabetic individuals may experience these spots. It is more common in people with long standing diabetes or in those who are unable to control the diabetes well. The spots may sometimes occur in individuals who do not have diabetes. This generally happens after an injury.


Diabetic Dermopathy

There are certain signs and symptoms of diabetic dermopathy. The spots may be visible as red, tan, pink or brown patches on the skin. They mostly occur on the lower limbs. They may be either oval or round in shape and often tend to be scaly. Patches that have been present for long periods of time may become atrophic. Sugar spots tend to occur frequently on the thighs, feet and shins. Some diabetic individuals may also observe the spots on the forearms. Sugar spots are not known to cause any stinging, burning or itching. Let us explore a bit more about the meaning of sugar spots and why they occur.

The exact cause of diabetic dermopathy is not known for certain. It is possible that the affected areas may have been injured due to direct impact. Injuries due to excessive heat or cold could also be responsible. The shin area does not have much fat which will help to reduce the trauma. The injury is likely to lead to cutaneous and subcutaneous bleeding. The blood contains glycosolated hemoglobin which is essentially glucose-saturated hemoglobin. Iron is also contained in this hemoglobin. The iron and hemoglobin is deposited on the skin by the damaged cells. When the body is unable to repair the damage, discolored patches remain on the skin. Individuals who experience a greater number of sugar spots must undergo a medical examination. This is especially true for those in whom diabetes has not been diagnosed as yet. Diabetic spots and blood sugar levels are closely associated.

High levels of blood glucose lead to structural changes in the blood vessels. This causes a slight leakage of blood into the skin. Normally, this condition does not cause any harm and also does not need treatment. It is known to improve with time. It is advisable to protect the affected areas from further injury. It also helps to keep the areas moisturized to prevent cracking. Diabetes can lead to many skin conditions and it is always better to have these examined by a doctor. Sugar spots are usually indicative of poorly controlled diabetes and the best way to reduce this problem is work at keeping blood glucose levels in control. 
Submitted on January 16, 2014