For individuals diagnosed with diabetes, having too much sugar, or glucose in their blood can lead to many serious and long-term complications. Uncontrolled situations can lead to risk of nearly every organ in the body, including the heart and blood vessels, the nerves, the gums and teeth, the kidneys, and the eyes. As the body begins to shut down, an individual’s lower extremities are largely at risk because of the length of blood flow required to travel throughout the veins.
This leads to sensory diabetic neuropathy, which is a lack of feeling one may experience with damaged nerves preventing an individual to not feel cold, heat, or even pain. You can imagine the complications if a cut occurs on the foot, and the individual doesn’t even realize that it is there. The nerve damage in a foot can also lead to foot ulcers.
So is there anything that we can do about it? Absolutely! Proper foot care and awareness is of utmost importance to not only control issues, but also, to prevent them. Important habits to develop are: thoroughly wash your feet everyday with mild soap and tepid water, wear proper fitting orthopedic shoes for women and men, and set regular appointments with your doctor for a checkup on your feet. We’ll get into more of these items in detail below.
Washing and drying your feet: Make sure that you wash your feet in warm water every day, with a mild soap. Don’t test the temperature of the water with your hands or feet. Use your elbow instead, because nerve damage can affect sensation in your hands, too. Do not soak your feet. Don’t forget to thoroughly dry your feet well, even between the toes.
Orthopedic shoes for both men and women are often wider and deeper than regular shoes, to make room for special therapeutic shoe inserts. The shoes should provide an individual with good air circulation. Make sure that the shoe’s toe box is high and durable. The shoe should also be lightweight and seamless to prevent any irritation like calluses, infection or blisters.
Set some time aside to check your feet every day for sores, blisters, redness, or calluses. If you experience any of these issues, be sure to tell your doctor about them during your regular visit. If you notice anything in between your office discussions, and the situation gets worse, contact your doctor right away. Follow your health care provider’s advice regarding nutrition, exercise, and medication. Keep your blood sugar level within the range recommended by your doctor.
It is going to take some diligence and a lot of effort, but the payoff will be well worth it with the increased quality of life.