These days, we seem to be hearing more and more about diabetes, but what is it, and how does it affect your feet?. Diabetes is, simply put, one of several diseases that lead to you having too much sugar in your blood. There are a few common types. Type one is a chronic, life-long illness that requires constant monitoring and control. Type Two on the other hand is an onset illness from any number of causes from poor eating habits to your body slowly rejecting or not producing its own insulin. Type Two diabetes is a growing issue in the US in recent years, and in many cases is preventable with proper diet and exercise.
Diabetes, unsurprisingly, has many adverse effects on the body. Contrary to what big businesses may tell you, sugar isn’t necessary for your body to live. Historically, sugar has killed more people than you may think. It is estimated that 25,000 Americans die each year from sugar consumption and poor diet alone! That’s a small amount compared to the roughly 80,000 that die from diabetes and diabetes-related complications each year. That’s more deaths than, sepsis, gun violence, even kidney disease contributes a fraction of the deaths that sugar and diabetes causes.
That being said, what does diabetes do to your feet? People with diabetes are at risk of developing many foot problems. Worse, diabetes can exacerbate existing problems, making even a small cut or wound a severe issue. Neuropathy, or permanent nerve damage, is one of the most common ailments. Loss of sensitivity to both touch and temperature can lead to unknown wounds.
Diabetes also leads to skin changes. Dry skin is quite common among diabetics. Dry skin can lead to cracking and peeling that may go unnoticed and untreated due to neuropathy. Diabetes leads to poor circulation also, which makes it incredibly hard for your body to fight infections. Foot ulcers can develop from untreated wounds in less time than you think. The infections caused can take only a few days to cause irreparable damage, leading frequently to amputation.
So what can you do if you have diabetes? Here are a few simple steps you can take to care of your only two feet. First of all, take care to moisturize your feet. Dryness makes it all the easier to receive damage that can escalate quickly. The American Diabetes Association, or ADA, suggests you bathe regularly, after which you should moisturize your feet with a thin coat of skin cream to help retain moisture. Second, routine checks of your feet for cuts, wounds, and ulcers are imperative to your podiatric health. Look for any redness, swelling, or even unusual smells that could be indicative of a wound. Thirdly, make regular visits to your podiatrist to head off any unforeseen infections, or potential infections, before they become serious.
Pueblo Ankle and Foot Care as well as the American Diabetes Association suggest you visit annually for a diabetic foot checkup or more frequently if you are experiencing neuropathy or vascular disease symptoms. We are here to ensure you are as cared for as possible to keep you on your feet! Call in and schedule your appointment today so we can get you on the path to healthy foot care and healthy living.
By Devin Klemm