Diabetes & The Foot
People with Diabetes are at high risk from various health problems such as:
Eye Disease – Possible Blindness
Nerve Damage – Neuropathy
Amputation of foot or leg
Loss of teeth
Another health problem associated with diabetes involves the feet, as Diabetes is one of the major causes for lower limb amputation in the year 2004.
Amputation is obviously the last resort concerning problems of the feet, but it is surprising how a small cut or abrasion can lead to such dramatic results in diabetic patients.
Why is the Foot at Risk?
Persistent high blood glucose levels can eventually damage the body's nerves, causing a loss of sensation (neuropathy). Nerve damage can also cause pain in the legs, arms and hands creating problems in people's everyday lives. Your GP or Podiatrist should check your feet on a yearly basis, which should include a sensory exam to check for loss of feeling.
Small cuts or abrasions on the neuropathic foot can go unnoticed if daily foot checks are not performed. The cut can easily become infected, which in turn leads to an infected ulceration and could eventually result in the loss of the lower limb. Therefore the importance of daily foot checks, foot care & Diabetes in general cannot be underestimated.
High Risk Factors Leading to Diabetic Foot Ulcers
A small percentage of diabetic patients develop foot ulcerations, some of which may lead on to amputation. The foot is at a higher risk of ulceration if the individual suffers from conditions such as vascular disease or neuropathy. However there are many other factors that can increase risk of ulcers such as: –
Cold feet or absent foot pulses
History of Foot Problems
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels
A painless abrasion or corn can steadily progress to a distressing foot ulcer, and if left untreated skin deterioration may occur.