Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Diabetes & Feet

Diabetes affects the body's blood circulation which in turn affects the feet. Extreme cases of nerve and foot disorders (neuropathy) may lead to foot/leg amputations also known as lower extremity amputations or LEAs.

Why do people with diabetes have to take care of their feet more than those with no diabetes? According to the American Diabetes Association by the time type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, 50% of patients already show early signs of foot complications. People with diabetes are 5 times more likely to develop "peripheral neuropathy" (nerve damage in extremities) than the general population. Checking feet daily and having a doctor examine the feet can help prevent serious complications.

What are some symptoms of peripheral neuropathy "complications"?

Loss of feeling in feet. Foot sores that do not heal. Numbness, tingling or burning sensation in feet.

How can these "complications" be prevented?

Keep blood sugar (glucose) close to your goal. Don't smoke.

Get blood pressure checked regularly. Continue taking medication for blood pressure if prescribed by your doctor.

Check feet thoroughly ever day.

Report any problems to your health care provider.

How to Care for Your Feet:

Check feet daily for cuts, sores, red spots, swelling, and infected toenails.

Keep the top and bottom of feet's skin soft and smooth by using skin cream, lotion, or petroleum jelly.

Smooth corns and calluses gently -- check with your healthcare provider for proper care.

Trim toenails each week or as needed -- Cut nails straight across and file the edges. if you cannot see well, or if your toenails are thick or yellowed, have a foot care doctor trim them.

Never walk barefoot -- wear shoes and socks (preferably cotton or wool) at all times to protect feet from injury. Remember to shake out your shoes before putting them on since a small pebble or glass can lead to foot problems.

Wear shoes that fit well. Shape of feet may change due to poor fitting shoes. If you have lost feeling in your feet ask your health care provider for advice on proper shoes.

Protect feet from extreme heat or cold

(Adapted from ADA diabetes educational material)

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