Bullous diabeticorum, also called diabetic bullae, is a condition where fluid blisters suddenly develop on the skin of diabetic people.
Bullous diabeticorum fluid blisters are most often found on the hands and feet. These blisters can range from the size of a pencil eraser to the size of a donut. The fluid inside is usually clear but deeper blisters tend to be tinged with blood, though usually painless. When the blisters are superficial, they heal on their own within 2-6 weeks without scarring. Deeper blisters, on the other hand, come with a higher chance of scarring. With the blisters also comes a chance that they may break open, leading to bacterial infection.
The exact cause of bullous diabeticorum is not known. Nevertheless, it may be related to the abnormal metabolism of fluids in the body, due to high sugar levels in the blood.
Blisters should be left alone whenever possible so they can act as a “natural bandage”, preventing infection. Should an infection occur, a doctor usually prescribes topical or oral antibiotics.
Very large blisters can become an inconvenience in these cases. A trained professional using a sterile needle may surgically drain the fluid in the blister. The roof of the blister is then left to serve as a protective layer. Good wound care and dressing changes are needed to prevent infection and aid the healing process, and any dead skin tissue should be gently removed.