Having diabetes is difficult enough, but many don’t understand how important it is to monitor the health of your feet to avoid many complications. You may encounter mild symptoms that are easily overlooked, but that can lead to things as severe as amputation if you’re living with diabetes. With Diabetes Awareness Month approaching in November, now is a good time to review diabetic foot care.
Proper awareness and maintenance is key to keeping healthy feet as a diabetic. There are many things you can do to stay on top of these potentially risky issues, and having a podiatrist as part of your wellness team can make all the difference. The Foot and Ankle Care of Passaic and Dr. Sean Rosenblum have years of experience, specializing in methods to help you understand and treat your diabetic foot needs.
What is the connection between diabetes and foot complications?
If you suffer from diabetes, there is a very good chance (60-70%) that you suffer from some kind of nerve damage, or diabetic neuropathy. This can affect any part of the body, but it very often occurs in the legs and feet. This can lead to losing sensation in the feet, gangrene, and if left untreated, amputation. Approximately 65,000 legs or feet are amputated each year from these complications.
What are the symptoms?
Nerve damage can affect the body in numerous ways. It is common for patients to have numbness, tingling, pain, cramping, or even pain without symptoms. It leads to poor blood circulation and can also lessen sensations like cold and heat. Other problems may surface, such as:
- Bruising and swelling
- Ulcerous sores (foot ulcer)
- Ingrown or yellow toenails
- Athlete’s foot
- Temperature and color changes in the feet
- Hair loss on lower legs and feet
Who is at risk?
While all diabetics are prone to these and other complications, many things can contribute to increasing your risks, including:
- Age (40 years or older)
- High cholesterol
- Problems controlling your blood sugar
- How long you’ve suffered from diabetes
What can you do to help?
In addition to taking care of the overall diabetic issues, many simple things can help to keep your feet healthy when symptoms first arise. Many of the suggestions are common sense things we do every day to take care of our ourselves, like some form of exercise, wearing shoes that fit well, cleaning and checking your feet, and avoiding going barefoot.
Dietary changes may also be necessary, often including an increase of fruits and vegetables. Reducing your sugar intake is always important as well.
Catching diabetes early is key. If you believe something is wrong, don’t hesitate to call or make an online appointment with Dr. Rosenblum as soon as possible.