Diabetes Awareness Month: The 411 on Diabetes and Your Feet

Diabetes ConceptDiabetes effects more than eight percent of the U.S. population, accounting for 25.8 million people with another 7 million still un-diagnosed, reports the American Podiatric Medical Association data (APMA). During Diabetes Awareness Month, Triad Foot Center will be educating you on diabetes, and how it can affect your feet.

Many patients with diabetes are asymptomatic, which can lead to the diagnosis of this chronic disease after months to years of high blood sugar affecting the body.  About 90% of patients who develop type 2 diabetes are obese.  In addition, those of Hispanic, Native American, African American, Asian American or Pacific Islander descent are at a greater risk of developing the disease, explains Greensboro podiatrist Dr. Kathryn Egerton of the Triad Foot Center.  (reference– Medscape.  Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus)

What is Diabetes?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines diabetes as “a condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugars to build up in your blood, and causes serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations.”

There are three types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that commonly develops in children and teens. Type 2 diabetes is the most common and usually occurs in adults. Gestational diabetes only arises during pregnancy and typically lasts until the baby is born.  After birth, Gestational diabetes usually automatically resolves.

How Does Diabetes Affect the Feet?

Diabetes often leads to problems of your lower extremities. Loss of feeling in your feet, tingling and numbness are often signs of diabetic neuropathy. Uncontrolled diabetes can permanently damage the nerves in your feet.

Poor circulation in your lower extremities is also a sign of peripheral vascular disease, which occurs when diabetes has affected your blood flow.  Diabetes commonly affects the small blood vessels which can threaten the health of your feet and toes.

Diabetic individuals also often develop ulcers and sores on their feet that do not heal. By not seeking early treatment of foot-related problems as a result of diabetes, the condition can lead to limb or life threatening infections and amputations.

Diabetic Footwear

There are specialized shoes, socks and orthotic devices available to diabetic patients in order to promote better foot health and prevent diabetes related foot complications.  It’s important to note that people with diabetes should never go barefoot and should always have their feet protected to prevent cuts or scrapes of their feet.  An otherwise small injury can quickly lead to complications.

The physicians of the Triad Foot Center are specially trained to evaluate and treat patients with diabetes and the complications associated with this illness.  They can also prescribe and dispense diabetic shoes at their offices, located in Greensboro, Burlington and Asheboro.

For more information about diabetic foot care, please visit triadfoot.com To make an appointment have your feet examined by one of Triad Foot Center’s board certified podiatrists, please call (336) 375-6990 or click here.

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