21 Dec Foot Care and Diabetes
Diabetes is an illness that can be kept under control through proper diet and medication. When it is out of control, sugar levels in the blood can rise to dangerous levels or they can bottom out at which point the diabetic needs to ingest carbohydrates or simple sugars quickly to ensure the body has enough sugars to function. In all persons, blood sugars represent energy – the energy required to get your muscles to move.
The problems of diabetes arise from both low or high blood sugar levels. While blood sugar levels are automatically maintained in persons without diabetes, someone who has diabetes must, in a sense, manually control blood sugar levels by exercising or by eating or not eating foods with sugars or carbohydrates.
One way to look at diabetes is to imagine your body is an iron woodstove. If the fire in the stove gets too hot repeatedly, it will cause long-term damage in the form of metal fatigue. On the other hand, if the fire is not properly fed it will go out completely – which in the body includes heart beats and breathing. With diabetes, high blood sugar levels occurring often will damage nerves and impair blood circulation. With low blood sugar levels – when the fire goes out – the patient will become comatose and, in time, die. People with diabetes cannot allow their blood sugar levels to fall too far, but serious problems arise if blood sugar levels get too high too often.
The primary problems that arise from repeated incidents of high blood sugar are poor circulation and nerve damage. This can result in problems in the feet as they are the farthest from your heart and, therefore, are disproportionately affected by poor circulation.
The basic complications in the feet involve both nerve damage and poor circulation. This shows up as foot pain while walking (especially on hard surfaces) and a decreased ability for foot problems to heal.
Diabetics must also be vigilant about caring for their feet because nerve damage eventually causes the foot to become numb. When this occurs, nerve damage and circulation problems make it hard to detect pain in the foot. Concurrently, circulation problems make it hard for foot injuries to heal.
Common foot problems for persons with diabetes include:
- Infections and abbesses that arise from long-term wounds that are slow to heal
- Corns and calluses occur without the person with diabetes noticing something is wrong
- Dry or scaly skin: These conditions also go unnoticed and are difficult to treat when you have diabetes
- Toenail problems. Ingrown toenails can become dangerous, leading to infections, if not treated promptly and appropriately
- Poor circulation can affect overall health. It often appears first in the blood vessels of the lower leg and feet.
What to do?
The steps required for daily foot checks are critical as someone with diabetes could have even a small laceration that becomes infected. See a podiatrist as soon as possible if you find an injury that is slow to heal or becomes infected.
Have a trained podiatrist tend to your routine foot care. Not only is this safer, but it can also mean proper medical attention to undetected wounds.
For the best foot doctor in Phoenix Arizona, call the Oasis Foot And Ankle Center for an appointment at 602-993-2700.