According to the American Diabetes Association, 9.3% of Americans have diabetes, a disease affecting the way the human body processes glucose. Over an extended period of time, high glucose levels can damage the nervous system, reducing sensation in the feet.
Diabetics have suppression of the immune response and often have reduced blood flow to the feet. Due to these factors, the body may be unable to heal wounds that you suffer to your feet. Many diabetics have decreased sensation to their feet, and often don't realize when they have an injury. If you aren’t checking your feet regularly, you may not realize your feet are injured until it’s too late. If left untreated, bacterial infections can lead to gangrene, which may require amputation to ensure that the infection does not spread to other parts of the body.
What Can I Do?
There are some simple precautions you can take to keep your feet healthy as a diabetic.
- Check your feet daily.
- Keep your diabetes under control.
- Wash your feet daily.
- Keep your feet moisturized (but no lotion between the toes, as moisture here can create conditions friendly to fungal infection).
- Encourage circulation in your feet by wiggling your toes and changing positions regularly.
- Schedule regular appointments with your podiatrist for a foot exam.
If you suffer from diabetes, it is crucial that you ensure foot health by working with your podiatrist to reduce the likelihood of infection and quickly treat any infection that arises. We will thoroughly examine your feet to identify any current problems, as well as educate you about your foot structure and any future problems you may be at risk for. Contact us today to learn how we can help you protect your feet for a lifetime.