What Are Some Hidden Dangers Of Diabetes
Many people underestimate the insidious nature of diabetes. Diabetes affects multiple organs and systems of your body. In the United States, diabetes is the leading cause of end-stage-renal-disease (ESRD), adult blindness, and foot amputations.
Yes, many people with diabetes end up having their feet amputated as a result of poorly managed sugar levels. It all stems from diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage in your feet and legs). What’s scary is you may not even notice, or you may only notice some slight numbness or tingling. Let’s discuss it mores in the next sections.
What’s so insidious about diabetic neuropathy?
Diabetic neuropathy affects up to 50% of people who have diabetes. The chances of developing neuropathy are related to the duration of diabetes and how well the person controls their sugar levels. The primary danger of diabetic neuropathy is you gradually loose senses of your feet to the point that you could cut or burn your foot and not even notice. You might find a blister and wonder how you got. It’s entirely possible to have an unnoticed cut become infected and require IV antibiotics. It’s a great idea to have your healthcare provider examine your feet─even before you’re diagnosed─especially if you have risk factors like diabetes running in your family. And consult your doctor about getting the proper shoes or having him trim your toenails.
How does diabetic neuropathy impact my skin?
It may seem like common sense, but people with diabetes have to pay particular attention to their foot hygiene. Neuropathy also makes your feet extra dry. So, keep your feet clean and moisturized to help prevent infections.
Can diabetic neuropathy cause me to develop calluses?
As mentioned earlier, diabetes affects multiple parts of your body. It’s much easier for people with diabetes to develop calluses on the bottom of your feet. It may seem like no big deal, but calluses can create further problems like diabetic ulcers. Please, don’t try to “doctor” on your calluses or corns. Let your healthcare provider take care of this. After your exam, your doctor will give you specific instructions on daily maintenance like cleaning, thoroughly drying, inspection and using a pumice stone and lotion.
Tell me for about those diabetic ulcers.
Since you may not detect injuries to your feet, this is another reason to see your doctor regularly if you have diabetes. Unchecked ulcers can spread. Your doctor can catch this early and take preventive measures such as x-rays, obtaining samples to learn which antibiotic will work, or check if something else is going on. If the blood flow to feet isn’t and your ulcer isn’t healing this earn you a trip to a surgeon. You may see a pattern developing. People with diabetes have to stay on top of their foot care.
What does the blood flow to my feet have to do with diabetes?
Diabetes shrinks the tiny arteries in your feet, which reduces the blood flow; this decreased blood flow reduces their ability to heal. Do your part, don’t smoke and follow your doctor’s advice for keeping your cholesterol and your blood pressure in check. Sometimes your feet may feel cold, but give in to the temptation of trying to heat them with hot water bottles, hot water, or heating pads. Again, your feet can’t gauge temperature accurately, and you could scold your without knowing. The ideal approach is to wear quality socks.
There’s another problem that people with diabetes face. While walking or doing mild exercise, many people experience a squeezing pressure in their calves. This problem is known as intermittent claudication. In most cases, resting for a couple of minutes should get rid of it. If you smoke, it’s staking the deck against you. Smoking also shrinks the arteries in your legs, which makes the claudication worse. Ask your doctor for help to quit smoking. As you’ve probably already guessed, exercise is a great way to increase circulation to your legs and feet. Work with your healthcare provider to begin on a work-out program. Don’t forget to get good-fitting shoes for your workouts.