Diabetes has an important link with your feet and can be the first sign of change if any complications are occurring. In most cases, if your blood glucose levels are well controlled then no complications are usually seen. However, if diabetes is uncontrolled the common following risk factors will occur:
Uncontrolled diabetes can affect your vascular system in 2 major ways:
This can further cause complications with skin integrity, healing time, ulceration and in worst case, amputation. Due to a lack of blood to the feet, if wounds occur they may not be able to heal due to inadequate blood supply which can lead to infection and then amputation. Additionally, swelling, coldness, dry skin and cramps can also occur in the lower leg due to a lack of nutrients being supplied to the skin and muscles.
High sugar levels in blood are toxic to nerves in your body. The feet and hands are usually the first sites to show symptoms. Symptoms can include numbness, pins and needles and burning sensations. If the toxicity is present for a long duration of time, all feeling in your feet can be lost causing major complications. Once nerve damage occurs in feet, it will rarely improve. Nerve damage can be very dangerous as no feeling in your feet makes simple tasks such as fitting a shoe, feeling temperature and walking much more difficult. Nerve damage can also affect your balance.
Diabetes can have many other complications in your feet including muscles wastage, biomechanical changes and structural deformities.
It is important for people diagnosed with diabetes to have an annual check up with their podiatrist to have their circulation and nerve function tested. If any complications are noted you may be required to have more frequent appointments.
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