Diabetes: Increased blood sugar levels can affect feet of a diabetic

Diabetes: Increased blood sugar levels can affect feet of a diabetic

October 09, 2019

High blood sugar levels can cause many complications for a diabetic. Diabetic foot is a condition which a diabetic may face. Here are the details about diabetic foot explained by expert. Know symptoms of diabetic foot and ways to prevent it.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Loss of sensation can be a symptom of diabetic foot
  • A sore or an infection can become more difficult to heal
  • Do not ignore the symptoms of a diabetic foot

Increased blood sugar levels can affect feet of a diabetic

It is no longer a hidden secret that the present day lifestyle being led by majority of the population has become the root cause of major problems pertaining to one's health but we still don't seem to be heading towards any improvement. Among the many other health diseases that have come up recently due to imbalanced choice of eating habits, physical activity and climate, diabetes has emerged as one of the most common diseases affecting a large number of people. It is no more limited to the older generation or the ones under the risk of genetic transfer rather it's only been increasing its grip and is stronger than ever.

Diabetes leads to insufficient insulin production in the body or a low sensitivity towards it. Insulin is a necessary hormone that helps the cells of the body in absorbing sugar from the blood and utilizes it for energy. When this procedure is impacted and not performed correctly, the sugar is then not absorbed and keeps circulating in the blood, further leading to health problems. The presence of high sugar levels in the blood over long duration of time can damage many areas of the body, including the feet that often results in diabetic foot. A chronic complication of diabetes mellitus leading to ulcer is usually a diabetic foot ulcer (DFU).

Diabetes (diabetic neuropathy)

Diabetes (or diabetic neuropathy) also causes peripheral nerve which damages nerves enables reduced ability to feel pain in the patients. Because of this, minor injuries are likely to remain undiscovered for a long time. It is likely that the person than might not feel a cut, a blister or a sore. Such foot injuries further lead to ulcers and infections and sometimes even to amputation depending on the extent of seriousness. The sufficient supply of blood and oxygen also hinders with the damage to blood vessels. However, if a sore or an infection develops then it becomes more difficult to heal.

Some of the symptoms of diabetic foot are:

  • A loss of sensation
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • Painful prickly, shivering sensation
  • Blisters or other wounds without pain
  • Discoloration of skin
  • Changes in skin temperature
  • Red bands
  • Wounds with or without effluent

How can diabetes affect the feet?

Bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes, fungal infections, dryness of the skin, and ingrown toenails are also some problems that might occur in case of a diabetic foot. These problems, however, are not particular to diabetes, they result mostly due to the nerve and vascular damage that diabetes cause. The nerves that have been damaged tend to feel itchy and painful initially, reduce sensitivity to foot pain and also lead to wounds that have no pain but can cause ulcers which can be recognized from the affected area and sometimes an evident lump that is not necessarily painful. Dry skin which is also common in diabetes, adds to the problem too.

However, as has been rightly said, prevention is better than cure. One of the most significant prevention of a diabetic foot is optimizing metabolic control through regulation of blood sugar levels and control diabetes. First and foremost way to avoid foot problems in diabetes is to control your blood sugar levels and maintain a good hygiene.

Diabetes Foot Care Guidelines

Some other steps that can be taken are:

  • Inspect the foot daily for swelling, Discoloration of skin, blisters, cut, and scratches, always check between the toes for fungal inspection
  • Inspect the inside of shoes daily for any foreign objects
  • Wash your feet properly every day
  • Do not remove corns without medical assistance
  • Do not walk barefoot
  • Maintain skin softness
  • Trim your toenails regularly
  • Keep your feet covered, wear shoes and socks at all times possible
  • Protect your feet from exposure to extreme heat or coldness
  • Ensure proper blood flow in your feet
  • Do not wear too tight shoes

An awareness towards one's body, frequent self-examination especially towards one's feet when having diabetes to spot any minor ailment and get them treated immediately to avoid the spread of infection or broken skin which tends to increase the risk of ulcers. Doctors highlight that sufficient knowledge about one's body, conditions and the disease along with alertness and urgent medical aid is crucial to avoid the diabetic foot problems from enhancing and becoming more serious.

Author:

Dr. Chandramma (Diabetic Educator)

Columbia Asia Hospital - India

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