Diabetes and Your Feet: What Exactly Does Diabetes Do?

diabetes complicationsWe often hear that diabetic patients need to pay extra attention to their feet because of complications the condition poses to your lower extremities. The month of November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, so we will spend some time talking about diabetes and how it pertains to the feet.

But how exactly does diabetes wreak so much havoc on your feet?

The answer is fairly simple…and yet not. Diabetes is brought on by chronically elevated glucose levels and it damages the nervous system, including the nerves in your feet.  As a result, a numb, tingling and painful sensation in the toes and foot develops, called neuropathy. Neuropathy can result in complications to the simplest of foot injuries.

Due to the numbness that neuropathy causes, even a blister, minor cut or scrape can quickly turn into a diabetic foot ulcer because of inability to tell that it is there. If the diabetic ulcer is left untreated, it can quickly become a serious wound that could eventually result in amputation of the foot.

iStock_000020265572_LargeNerve damage in your feet can also affect your blood circulation. One in three people over the age of 50 have reported to have had clogged arties in the feet, which is known as peripheral arterial disease and peripheral vascular disease. Because of poor blood circulation, the arteries become narrowed, which decreases the amount of blood flowing to the lower legs and feet. This often causes pain when walking long distances, as well as preventing wounds and sores from healing because of lack of oxygen and nutrients they need to heal.

Complications associated with diabetes is why individuals with diabetes need to see a podiatrist for regular foot check-ups to ensure that any wounds don’t develop into a diabetic ulcer. Foregoing regular treatment could result in pain, serious infection and even worse, amputation of the foot.

To schedule an appointment with a podiatrist at the Triad Foot Center, please call 336-375-6990 or click here to request an appointment.

 

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