Diabetes is a direct cause of nervous system malfunctions, which leads to an inability by the patient to manage, co-ordinate or feel his or her feet. The normal functions of sweat secretion and oil production to soften and lubricate the skin of the feet are slowed down substantially by the disease, in turn leading to the development of wounds on the feet and toes.
In general, wound healing is hard for diabetics due to blood vessel damage as well as immune system deficiencies. Bacterial infections in affected areas are thus also very common. These complications have the potential to finally result in death on cellular levels often characterized by tissue decay. Should the complications not be treated in time, the chances are that the infection will spread into the bloodstream thus leading to death.
Diabetes is a chronic disease, and it doesn’t have a cure. A diabetic patient’s body parts are vulnerable to various types of complications which can even lead to amputation of that particular part or losing functions of an organ. For example, statistics show Diabetic foot ulcer is a very common problem, and almost 15% of people with diabetes are victims of this terrible ailment, further, in approximately 84% of cases, there is an amputation.
Foot problems are not the first symptom we usually associate with Diabetes. We think of low blood sugar or problems with circulation and weight. But in fact, foot problems in people with diabetes can indicate that something serious is going on. Mild discomfort can escalate quickly and evolve into a critical medical condition. Poor circulation in the feet can cause numbness and result in a person with diabetes being unaware of a foot injury and allowing it to worsen. Poor circulation also means that injuries heal more slowly for people with Diabetes, as a healthy blood flow is not able to wash away the infection. This can lead to the development of clubfeet-like conditions, or in the most severe cases, amputation of the feet.
It is not surprising to learn that the number of diabetics in the world is estimated to be in the tens of millions of people. Diabetes is a widespread disease among children and adults, and many people know someone who is affected by it. According to research, there are thousands of new amputees every year. Many other people suffer from less severe foot-related problems.
Foot problems prevention
Because people with diabetes are so susceptible to foot problems, special attention should be given to proper foot care. Patients with diabetes should do the following.
- Learn to self-examine their feet & detect early symptoms if any.
- Wash and dry feet thoroughly on a daily basis especially the in- between toe areas.
- Consult a Podiatrist regularly.
- In the case of cuts or wounds, treat them with antiseptics & dress them till they heal.
- Check feet for cuts, sores, bruises & health of toenails.
- Avoid barefoot strolls both in and outdoors.
- Choose & wear only correct fitting footwear.
- Use footwear that offers more space.
- Avoid pointed toes and high-heeled footwear.
- Do exercises and foot massages every day in an attempt to increase blood flow.