Today, studies show that frequent high blood sugar (glucose) levels can be linked to critical issues in people who have diabetes. Moreover, the feet are specifically at risk. In fact, there are two conditions that can damage the feet (and other areas of the body) in those who are diabetic; peripheral vascular disease and diabetic neuropathy. In truth, feet problems in a diabetic can be more deadly than the heart.
Conferring to ScienceDaily – researchers from St. George’s University of London did a study of 17,830 patients who were diabetic. Of those studied, 3,095 were diagnosed with foot ulcerations. In addition, they found that there was a higher rate of death with diabetics who had a history of foot ulceration. Likewise, there were 58 additional deaths per 1,000 each year diabetic foot ulcers.
Peripheral Vascular Disease
One of the symptoms of diabetes is poor circulation (blood flow). And when the body has insufficient blood flow, it takes sore and cuts much longer to heal. Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is any disorder that affects the blood vessels. And when there is poor blood flow, it increases the risk of infection that often does not heal. In turn, the risk of gangrene and ulcers are amplified. In fact, rendering to WebMD, the leading cause of disability in people who are diabetic or over the age 60 is PVD.
Diabetics with uncontrolled chronic high sugar levels can result in nerve damage that inhibits the ability to sense temperature and pain. And when a diabetic has diabetic neuropathy, the risk of feet problems is increased. Unfortunately, problems with the feet of a diabetic will often go unnoticed. Moreover, close to 10% of diabetics will get foot ulcers as a result of nerve damage and peripheral vascular disease.
On first onset, diabetics may notice cuts or sores on the feet. These sores can then lead to severe infections. As well, nerve damage can disrupt foot muscle function, leading to injury and unsuitable alignment.
Common Foot Conditions in Diabetics
For the most part, anyone can have common foot problems. However, diabetics have an increased risk for severe complications connected with these feet issues like infection and amputation.
- Dry Skin
- Athlete’s Foot
- Plantar Warts
- Ingrown Toenail
- Fungal Nail Infection
Proper foot care can prevent issues before they begin or become severe. In fact, there are several tips that can lower your risk of common foot problems.
- Inspect your feet daily for calluses, sores, redness or blisters.
- Wear well-fitting shoes. Canvas and leather shoes are generally the best.
- After a shower or bath, gently smooth calluses and corns using a pumice stone or emery board.
- Moisten your feet often, especially if they are dry and cracked. Never put lotion between the toes.
- Always wear stockings or socks. Makes sure they are a good fit and have soft and non-confining elastic.
- Wear closed-toed shoes and slippers. Avoid going barefoot and wearing sandals, even around the house.
- Wash your feet daily using a mild soap. Never soak your feet. Thoroughly dry your feet after a bath, especially between the toes.
- Follow the advice of your health care provider for exercise and nutrition. Also, keep your blood sugar within recommended ranges.
- Check your toenails on a weekly basis. With a nail clipper, trim your nails straight across. Smooth your toenails with a nail file after trimming. Never round off the corners.
- Keep blood flowing to the feet by keeping them elevated above the heart when you are sitting or lying in bed. Also, exercise your feet throughout the day by wiggling your toes and moving the ankles.
American Foot and Leg Specialists
It is important to see a podiatrist every two to three months for check-ups, regardless if you are having foot problems and especially if you are diabetic.
One of the most respectable and professional facilities for treating foot problems is at American Foot and Leg Specialists. The skillful team of physicians has over 100 accumulative years of experience. They offer the most state-of-the-art treatment for both mild and chronic issues. Additionally, Atlanta Laser Nail Specialist can help with preventative methods that may help remedy any foot problems you may have.
In fact, the professionally trained staff can answer any concerns or questions. And for easy accessibility, American Foot and Leg Specialists has 4 locations in Georgia: Fayetteville, Stockbridge, Locust Grove and Forest Park. They serve the South Atlanta Metro area that includes Cobb County, Douglas County, Clayton County, Fulton County, Henry County and Fayette County. Hours are 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday thru Friday.
Note: This article is not intended to replace professional medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about foot issues relating to diabetes, make an appointment at Atlanta Laser Nail Specialist or with your MD.