More than 37 million Americans are thought to have diabetes, including 8.5 million who are unaware of their illness. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, elevated levels of blood sugar damage tissue throughout your body, causing a wide range of health issues.
Your feet often suffer from blood vessel and nerve damage. Because your body works against gravity to return blood from the legs to the heart and lungs, circulation may suffer first in your feet. This can lead to changes in sensory nerves and wound healing.
Hudson Valley Foot Associates serves as part of your diabetes management team by contributing our expertise in diabetic foot care. Without quality care and blood sugar management, you could face increasing problems with your feet and lower legs, sometimes resulting in amputation. There are good reasons why diabetics should pay extra attention to their foot care.
About 20% of the hospital visits by diabetics result from problems with their feet. Diabetic neuropathy can bring both pain and loss of sensation to your feet. Though foot numbness may sound like the better alternative, it means that you might be unaware of heat and cold. Foot injuries may seem harmless because they cause little or no pain.
Combine this with the circulation issues that often accompany high blood sugar levels, and these painless injuries can be slow to heal. You may be unaware of a blister or cut becoming infected or festering, particularly on foot surfaces that you can’t see easily.
Diabetes also tends to dry out the skin on your feet, leading to cracked skin — another entryway for bacteria and fungus into your body.
The best thing you can do to prevent diabetes-related foot problems is controlling blood sugar levels. Follow your doctor’s instructions and take prescribed medicine as directed. Controlled blood sugar levels can stabilize the deterioration of tissue in your feet, though it won’t reverse damage that’s already occurred.
Other foot care tips that can help you minimize problems include:
Any foot injury, no matter how minor, has the potential to become a major problem. Hudson Valley Foot Associates has five locations to help you ensure your feet stay fine. Call or click at the first sign of trouble.