East African Medical Journal

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Prevalence of Cutaneous Manifestations of Diabetes Mellitus: A Hospital- Based Cross- Sectional Study in Northern Tanzania

S Kiprono, E Minde, DR Mavura, JE Masenga


Background: Diabetes mellitus is a non- communicable disease with an increasing prevalence in  developing countries. Skin manifestations in this condition are due to metabolic derangements or chronic degenerative complications. Skin manifestations are commonly observed after developing clinical  diabetes mellitus, but may also precede the diagnosis of the disease.

Objective: To determine the prevalence and the spectrum of cutaneous diseases in patients with  diabetes mellitus

Design: A hospital- based descriptive cross sectional study.

Setting: Regional Dermatology Training Center at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC), Moshi, Tanzania.

Results: A total of 544 patients with diabetes mellitus were recruited. The majority (64.2%, n= 349) were females with a male to female ratio of 1:1.8 and mean age of 54.8 years (SD±18.4). The overall prevalence of cutaneous manifestations in diabetic patients was 43.9% (n=239). Some patients had more than one skin condition giving a total of 297 skin conditions diagnosed in 239 patients. From a total of 297 skin conditions, there were 150 (50.5%) primary non-infectious skin conditions in patients with diabetes. Infections accounted for 38.0% (n=113), whereas 6.7 % (n=16) were skin conditions due to complications of diabetes and 7.6% (n=18) were skin reactions caused by treatment for diabetes

 Conclusions: Primary non-infectious cutaneous manifestations of diabetes mellitus are the most frequent manifestations as compared with infectious cutaneous manifestations in our setting.

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