Thursday, April 1, 2010

Amputation and diabetes: How to protect your feet

Foot care is especially important if you have diabetes. Diabetes can impair blood flow to your feet and cause nerve damage. Without proper attention and care, a small injury can develop into an open sore (ulcer) that can be difficult to treat. Sometimes amputation is necessary if an infection severely damages the tissue and bone.

The good news is that with proper diabetes management and careful foot care, amputation may be preventable. Here's what you need to know about the link between amputation and diabetes — and how to keep your feet healthy.
Why does diabetes pose a risk of amputation?

Diabetes can cause two potentially dangerous threats to your feet.

* Nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy). When the network of nerves in your feet is damaged the sensation of pain in your feet is reduced. Because of this, you can develop a blister or cut your foot without realizing it.
* Reduced blood flow. Diabetes can also narrow your arteries, reducing blood flow to your feet. With less blood to nourish tissues in your feet, it's harder for sores to heal. An unnoticed cut or sore hidden beneath your socks and shoes can quickly develop into a larger problem.

Left untreated, a minor foot injury could become a serious infection — even leading to tissue death (gangrene). Severe damage might require toe, foot or even leg amputation.

~ ~

No comments:

Post a Comment