Diabetes and Foot Problems

A Basic Understanding Of Diabetes

Diabetes is a disorder that affects the way the body utilizes food for energy. Under normal circumstances, the sugar that is taken in through food is broken down into glucose. Glucose circulates in the blood waiting to be called upon to be used as fuel. The hormone that is responsible for moving the glucose to fuel the cells is called insulin and it is produced by the pancreas. In the case of a healthy body, the pancreas regulates the amount of insulin released according to the level of glucose in the blood. When diabetes is present, this system breaks down and blood sugar levels become very high due to the failure of the pancreas to produce enough insulin to balance the glucose.

Even The Most Simple Injury Can Become A Serious Issue

Over time these high levels of glucose in the blood, if left untreated, create problems in the body. Diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney failure and nerve damage. If there is nerve damage in the legs and feet then a person may not feel heat, cold or pain. This lack of feeling is called sensory diabetic neuropathy. If there is a loss of feeling and a person sustains a cut or injury, then that cut may become infected and create poisoning in the blood. Diabetes also affects blood flow and without good blood flow, it takes much longer for a cut or wound to heal. Poor circulation in the arms and legs is called peripheral vascular disease and is another possible result of diabetes. If this condition is present there is a risk for developing ulcers or gangrene in the extremities.

Some Practical Advise For Diabetics

Common foot problems can escalate into very serious issues for a person with diabetes. They can lead to infection and even to amputation in some extreme cases. Diabetics should never walk around barefoot because even the smallest cut can be a source of untold problems. Well fitting shoes with absorbent socks are an absolute must and diabetics should see a professional for proper care of their toenails. The doctor should also inspect their feet at every visit, and the person should be checking their feet and nails every day. Treating any small problem promptly will help circumvent a potentially serious situation. Foot problems can ultimately affect the toenails, creating infections on and under the nails.

Be Careful Little Feet Wherever You Go

Fungal nail infections can be difficult to treat and, even if they are successfully treated, it is not uncommon for the fungus to return. For the person with diabetes, this means a constant vigilance over the condition of their feet and nails to avoid potential complications. If the foot and area around the nails becomes painful, inflamed or draining pus, call the doctor. Take extra care to ensure the skin is clean and dry and if there is a fungal infection on the nails or a case of athlete's foot, it is very important that a thorough hand washing with soap and hot water follows every contact with the infected areas so as to avoid spreading the infection.