Why foot care is very important for people with diabetes

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For people with diabetes, foot care is not just about comfort; it’s a crucial aspect of managing their health.

Diabetes can lead to serious foot problems that, if not managed properly, can result in complications, including infections and even the need for amputation.

This article discusses why foot care is so important for diabetes patients and how they can best look after their feet, presented in a way that is easy to understand.

Diabetes can cause two major problems that affect the feet: nerve damage (neuropathy) and poor blood circulation. Neuropathy results in a loss of feeling in the feet, meaning that cuts, sores, or blisters might go unnoticed due to the lack of pain.

Poor circulation can also slow down the healing process of any wounds, making infections more likely and more severe.

Neuropathy and Foot Health: Many people with diabetes eventually develop some form of neuropathy. The high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes can damage nerves, which can cause tingling, pain (burning or stinging), or weakness in the foot.

More dangerously, it can also cause a complete loss of feeling in the feet. Research has shown that because of neuropathy, people with diabetes might not notice minor injuries, such as blisters or scratches. Unnoticed and therefore untreated, these injuries can develop into ulcers or severe infections.

Poor Blood Circulation: Diabetes also affects blood flow. High glucose levels can lead to fatty deposits forming in blood vessels which can decrease circulation to the feet.

Poor circulation can make it harder for blood – which heals and fights infections – to reach areas of the body, such as the feet. This means even small cuts or sores can take much longer to heal and are more susceptible to infection.

Preventing Foot Problems: The American Diabetes Association emphasizes the importance of regular foot examinations, at least once a year, by a healthcare professional.

This is crucial for detecting early signs of nerve damage, changes in foot shape, circulation problems, and infections. For those already showing symptoms of nerve damage or circulation issues, more frequent examinations are necessary.

Daily Foot Care Tips: It’s recommended that people with diabetes perform a daily foot check. This involves looking at the feet every day for cuts, blisters, red spots, and swelling.

Feet should be washed daily in lukewarm water and dried gently, especially between the toes. Moisturizer should be applied to keep the skin soft, but not between the toes, as this can encourage fungal infections.

Proper Footwear: Wearing the right shoes is vital. Shoes should be comfortable and fit well to avoid pressure points on the feet. Sometimes, special diabetic shoes are prescribed to prevent complications. Diabetics should avoid walking barefoot to protect their feet from injuries.

Managing Blood Sugar Levels: Keeping blood sugar levels under control is perhaps the most critical step in diabetic foot care. Research consistently shows that controlled blood sugar levels can significantly reduce the risk of serious foot problems.

The Consequences of Neglect: Neglecting foot care can lead to infections, ulcers, and in severe cases, the need for amputation.

Studies have found that comprehensive diabetic foot care programs, which include education, regular foot examinations, and wearing appropriate footwear, can reduce amputation rates by 45% to 85%.

In conclusion, regular foot care is a crucial aspect of managing diabetes. It can prevent serious complications and contribute to a higher quality of life.

Diabetes patients should be vigilant in monitoring their foot health, wear appropriate footwear, manage their blood sugar levels, and seek regular medical check-ups to maintain good foot health. The effort put into proper foot care is a vital investment in the overall management of diabetes.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies that MIND diet may reduce risk of vision loss disease, and Vitamin D could benefit people with diabetic neuropathic pain.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies that Vitamin E could help reduce blood sugar and insulin resistance in diabetes, and results showing eating eggs in a healthy diet may reduce risks of diabetes, high blood pressure.

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