Arm, Leg, and Foot Skin Water in Persons With Diabetes Mellitus (DM) in Relation to HbA1c Assessed by Tissue Dielectric Constant (TDC) Technology Measured at 300 MHz

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DM is associated with structural skin changes. However, few studies have investigated changes in dermal water and specifically its relationship to glucose control as measured by HbA1c. Our goal was to test the hypothesis that skin water, assessed by its tissue dielectric constant (TDC), is inversely related to HbA1c.


Water content of 3 skin sites (forearm, lower leg, and foot dorsum) of 50 persons with DM was estimated by measuring TDC at 300 MHz. TDC is the ratio of tissue dielectric constant to vacuum and depends on free and bound water in the measured volume. TDC was measured in triplicate to 4 depths, 0.5. 1.5, 2.5, and 5.0 mm to include different skin components.


At each site increased measurement depth showed (1) a significant decrease in absolute TDC values and (2) a significant increase in foot-to-arm TDC ratios. TDC values at forearm were shown to be greater than at either leg or foot. However, testing of these 50 patients at 3 sites and 4 skin depths did not show any significant relationship between TDC and HbA1c or fasting glucose.


The data indicate no relationship between TDC values, as indices for skin water, and HbA1c or fasting glucose. This implies that skin TDC values to assess skin property features and changes in persons with DM are not sensitive to recent glucose control. Furthermore, the results introduce a newly applied TDC technology useful to assess skin properties of persons with DM.

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