Foot Health Care
Diabetes may affect your feet in a number of ways and in some cases can lead to serious complications. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which the body cannot properley use sugars and starches from the diet due to the pancreas not producing enough insulin or the body being unable to use the insulin.
Type 1 - (juvenile onset) An auto-immune disease where the body's immune system destroys the beta cells in the pancreas, leading to insulin dependancy. It can appear at any age, although most common in the under 40's. It is triggered by environmental factors such as viruses, diet and chemicals in individuals who are genetically predisposed.
Type 2 - (late onset) diabetes This affects 85-90% of all people with the disease and characterised by insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. It is strongly genetic in nature but lifestyle factors such as excess weight, inactivity, hypertension and poor diet are major factors in its development.
One of the early changes can be loss of sensation within your feet, often starting at the toes which is known as peripheral neuropathy.
Mostly is is gradual and often goes unnoticed at first, occasionally this maybe accompanied by pain or a burning sensation, this is known as painful neuropathy.
It is important that you receive a regular diabetic foot assessment as diabetes affects the small blood vessels in your eyes and feet.
The nerves in your feet become affected which can lead to other changes; Your toes can start to claw and the bones in your feet can becdome more suceptible to fractures.
The main thing to remember is that due to the nerve damage caused by diabetes, you can lose the feeling in your feet. It is important to check your feet every day for any cuts, scratches or blisters. Due to the excess sugar in the blood and reduced blood flow, the healing process is impaired.
It is possible to prevent or delay changes affecting your feet if you follow medical advice and keep your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, along with blood pressue within the target range set by your doctor. Your chances of doing this will be greatly increased if you do not smoke.
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