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Does diabetes affect one’s physical appearance
August 9, 2019

We talk a lot about how diabetes affects the integral organs of the body, a reason why this condition is called a silent killer. People who suffer from type II diabetes can live with the conditions for years before it comes to the fore. By the time one gets diagnosed with the same the damage to the organs is already done. One reason why the condition gets overlooked or unnoticed is because it shows no physical signs and symptoms. However, we spoke to Dr V. Mohan of Dr Mohan s Diabetes Specialties Centre to know if diabetes affects physical appearance that could be an early sign of the condition.

”Theoretically speaking diabetes should not affect the physical appearance as externally one may not be able to make out whether he/she has diabetes or not.  In fact, a former Miss America had type 1 diabetes and nothing altered her appearance. However, if diabetes starts affecting the skin or joints or muscles, there could be changes in physical appearance. If diabetes strikes early, then it can shun a baby’s growth unless the diabetes is very well controlled,” he says. Read why diabetes is more challenging in women than men. 

Although, the effects of high sugar in the blood do have an effect on the skin. Here are a few ways in which diabetes can affect the physical appearance of a person:

Unexplained weight loss: This is one of the common symptoms in type 1 diabetes, especially in women. With this type of diabetes, the body is unable to use all the calories that the food provides, even though the person follows a healthy diet. Due to this, the person loses weight, even without trying to do so.

Shunned growth: Kids who suffer from type 1 diabetes suffer from growth reduction. This should work as a red flag and prompt parents from taking the child to the doctor for a check-up.

Cracked skin: Uncontrolled high blood sugar can make one lose fluids at a faster rate and this could lead to dry and damaged skin especially in the feet and legs.

Foot problems: Unhealed shoe bites, ulcers at feet could also be a sign of diabetes.

Prickly skin: Since diabetes also leads to nerve damage it can make your skin feel like pricks and needles along with induced dryness. This nerve damage can also alter one’s perception of heat and cold.

Other than these diabetes doesn’t alter a person looks or appearance.


Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centres at Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad  was awarded “Service Excellence in Diabetology – South” award by the Times of India Survey 2020-2021 conducted by AVANCE. Chennai      Hyderabad Bangalore We are proud to announce that we have been selected as India’s No.1 Diabetes Hospital (in Private sector) by THE WEEK …

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