If you live with diabetes, you have to pay attention to your health and wellness on a daily basis. And this includes staying aware of your feet and extremities.
In this blog, Madhav Devani, MD, of Ross Bridge Medical Center in Hoover, Alabama, explains why diabetes can affect the feet and how you can stay on top of your foot health.
Diabetes and blood sugar
If you have diabetes, your body doesn’t correctly process blood sugar, or glucose, which gives cells energy. Patients with Type 1 diabetes don’t produce enough insulin. Insulin allows glucose to enter cells. With patients who have Type 2 diabetes, cells don’t respond to insulin properly, so the glucose doesn’t enter the cells.
Either way, blood sugar is not absorbed into the cells, so it stays in the blood. You may need to regularly check your blood sugar levels or watch your food and drink intake to avoid a blood sugar spike or drop. Over the long term, elevated blood sugar levels can have serious health complications.
Circulation problems and nerve damage
If your blood sugar stays too high for too long, it can have lasting consequences for your circulatory system and nerves. Regarding circulation, diabetes can cause poor blood flow in the lower extremities, including the feet. This, in turn, can lead to poor healing in areas affected by poor circulation.
Diabetes can also cause nerve damage, which could cause numbness in your feet. And this could reduce your ability to feel heat, cold, or realize you have an injury in your lower extremities. Diabetic nerve damage could also cause you to experience tingling sensations in your feet.
Diabetic foot care
If you have diabetes, caring for your feet should become a part of your daily routine. You should clean them daily, making sure to avoid scrubbing them too hard or using hot water, and you should also check them over carefully for any injuries.
You need to check them well, because even a minor cut could lead to an infection, especially if the area gets poor blood flow. You should also protect your feet by not going barefoot and by wearing soft socks indoors and outdoors.
Managing your condition
Type 2 diabetes can often be improved with lifestyle changes and medical support. Patients with Type 1 diabetes can manage their condition with insulin injections or an insulin pump.
No matter what type of diabetes you have, it’s important that you get professional care. Without effective management, diabetes can increase your risk of suffering injuries, infections, and even limb loss. However, with the right help — and by monitoring your condition at home — you can stay as healthy as possible.
To learn more about how diabetes can affect your feet and what you can do to safeguard your long-term health and wellness, book an appointment online or over the phone with Ross Bridge Medical Center today.