Diabetes is a disease that impacts an ever-growing number of people, with more than 30 million diagnosed patients just in the United States. Sadly, diabetes and the subsequent problems that stem directly from the illness could have considerable disadvantages to your well-being, and that includes the well-being of your feet.
So what does this mean in terms of your personal health?
The Two Main Risks
The two primary systemic dangers of diabetes in terms of your feet are peripheral neuropathy (damaged nerves) and peripheral arterial disease (insufficient circulation). Both of these diseases create greater opportunities for other health issues to arise.
For instance, if your nerves don’t function the way they should, you might not even notice the sting of a cut, the pain of a burn, or any other wound and consequently would have no idea that anything was even wrong. Likewise, if your tootsies are lacking in the blood flow and oxygen they require, wounds can become infected and start to fester, as opposed to healing thoroughly.
The potential outcome having diabetes with one of these other ailments is that if you don’t receive medical care right away, it might result in a very complex limb salvage operation or potentially even a complete amputation in order to limit the extent of the infection. In severe cases, someone with diabetes could also cultivate an extreme disfigurement of their foot from unwittingly walking on broken or fractured bones or joints, a malady commonly known as Charcot foot.
What Can I do to Prevent This?
A diagnosis of diabetes, however, doesn’t inherently mean that each of these terrible fates will befall you. Quite the opposite, actually. Just about every issue of foot health that is related to diabetes is actually very controllable, even avoidable. The central issue with all of these is blood sugar levels that are out of control, and while we recognize that someone with diabetes won’t be able to depend on their pancreas to handle their blood sugar for them, they are able to eat healthy, exercise, and follow a doctor’s instructions so that their glucose numbers are in a healthy range.
If you are vigilant about handling your diabetes and adopt a healthy lifestyle of exercise and clean eating, your chances of eluding peripheral artery disease or neuropathy should be very good. By inspecting your feet at least once a day for injuries and cuts, and checking in with your podiatrist at least once a year for preventative testing, you can solve any minor issues before they turn into a huge problem.
Call us today to schedule an appointment with one of our reputable doctors, Dr. Scott E. Hughes, Dr. Greg P. Vogt, or Dr. Christine I. Tumele at Foot and Ankle Specialists, PC in Monroe, MI by calling 734-241-0200 or Lambertville, MI by calling 734-856-8900. If you can’t get to us, don’t worry. We make house calls Monday through Thursday and are more than happy to come see you.