Why Is It Important For Diabetics To Take Care Of Their Feet?
The feet are one of the most important parts of the body and yet the most neglected. Most of us take our feet for granted and pay much lesser attention to them than other parts of the body...
The human body is made up of different parts, including hands and feet. In the human body, the feet are one of the most important parts and yet the most neglected.
Most of us take our feet for granted and pay much lesser attention to them than other parts of the body, e.g. the hands and the face, which we always look at in the mirror.
The feet are one of the most important parts of the body. Just like your car cannot run without tyres, the body cannot run without feet. Therefore, feet require special care, particularly if one is suffering from Diabetes.
Diabetes, as we are aware, is a condition caused by faulty or insufficient insulin production or where the body has low sensitivity to insulin. Insulin helps cells absorb sugar from the blood to use for energy to run the entire body.
When this process does not work correctly, the sugar remains circulating in the blood, without being absorbed by the cells, thus causing health problems. Prolonged excessive periods of high sugar levels in the blood can damage many areas of the body, including the feet.
In the case of a person who is a chronic diabetic, there are two types of main foot problems that can affect a diabetic’s feet:
Diabetic Neuropathy is related to the nervous system and can cause numbness in the feet, reducing awareness of wounds, infections, and tight shoes. If neglected, over a period of time, it can cause nerve damage that leads to numbness in the feet.
Therefore people with a high level of Diabetes fail to feel sensations in their extremities. They may not notice that when they wear new shoes, their shoes are rubbing in and have caused a shoe bite. This lack of sensation can lead to an increased risk of cuts, sores, and blisters, thereby increasing the risk of infection.
If you’re a diabetic by nature, you need to be aware of untreated infections, as they eventually lead to a condition called gangrene. If a person develops gangrene, the only option is that they require amputation of that part of the body to prevent it from spreading to other parts. There is no known cure in the medical world for gangrene and the only option is amputation.
Peripheral Vascular Disease
In the case of Peripheral Vascular Disease, fatty deposits start blocking blood vessels and arteries beyond the brain and heart. It tends to affect blood vessels in the entire body, including the extremities, such as the hands and feet.
Reduced blood flow to any part of the body can lead to pain, infection, and wounds in that part of the body tend to heal slowly. If a person develops a severe infection and is not detected on time, doctors may recommend amputation of that part since it can spread to other parts of the body also.
Precautions to take care of your feet if you’re diabetic:
Check your feet daily, particularly at the time of taking a bath, for any cuts or sores. This assumes more significance if you have low sensitivity or no feeling in your feet. Sores, cuts, and grazes could go unnoticed and you could develop the condition of gangrene, leading to amputation.
Moving around barefoot even indoors, whether in the home or office can have its own share of risk. Even a minor accident like stepping on something or stubbing your toes against something or a minor cut due to a thorn in the garden can cause a bigger problem than one can imagine.
Protect your feet with socks/stockings and shoes/slippers even when moving around in the house or office. Keeping your feet covered protects them. A little care and prevention go a long way in avoiding accidents.
If you have corns or calluses, that haven’t been healing for some time now, immediately check with your doctor or podiatrist, as delaying the same could be dangerous, particularly if you’re a diabetic patient.
Wash your feet daily in warm, and not hot water daily. Don’t merely soak your feet because it could dry your skin and form cracks or sores. Wash them properly with soap and warm water, to keep them free of infections, just as we wash out hands.
Take extra care to dry your feet completely, especially between your toes. These are natural moisture spots as they are closed, due to the shoes that we wear, leaving them damp or wet could create all sorts of problems, including skin infections.
Most of the time we take our feet for granted and neglect to exercise them. Even performing a simple hack like rotating your ankles, or wiggling your toes helps blood circulation flow in the feet and minimize the risk of foot problems in the long run.
Get your feet checked regularly. Just like the tyres of a vehicle need to be maintained properly, one needs to get his or her feet professionally checked, at least once a year, for sensitivity and signs of any skin problems. This can be arranged at the time of your annual check-up for your blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can increase the risk of podiatric complications arising from Diabetes. Therefore an important preventive measure would be to control the level of blood sugar. This can be done through a combination of a balanced diet and regular moderate exercise.
These simple hacks as a part of your lifestyle habits can help manage your feet in a proper manner and maybe save your feet from amputation in the long term…
Additional tips that you need to look out for:
Smoking regularly as a habit is bad for health, as it decreases longevity by affecting overall health adversely, particularly in the case of Diabetics it adversely affects blood flow to the tissues, the feet in particular, which can make foot problems worse in people with diabetes.
Diabetes requires regular supervision by a doctor as part of the management and care for the disease. However, anyone who notices any of the following changes should seek Immediate Medical Attention.
- Any Changes in Skin Color In The Feet.
- Any swelling in the Foot or Ankle that is not healing for a long time.
- Any Temperature changes in the feet.
- Persistent sores on the Feet that are not healing.
- Niggling or Tingling pain in the Feet or Ankles must not be taken lightly.
- Ingrowing Toe Nails.
- Fungal infections of the Feet that have not healed automatically.
- Dry, Cracked skin that keeps coming back on the Heels.
- Any other cuts or infections that have not healed naturally or are longer than normal time to heal.
Following these small hacks as a part of lifestyle may not cure the effects of Diabetes, but it can certainly prevent further damage from taking place. As they say, “Prevention is Better Than Cure”.
The original article was published on Medium as "Why Your Feet Require Special Care If You're A Diabetic".
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