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Diabetes Heating Pads

Moist Heat Heating Pads Is It For You?

Moist Heat Heating Pads Is It For You?

When considering the use of a heating pad, one of the most important choices is that of moist vs dry heat. The majority of heating pads provide dry heat, however, heating pads can also be used to provide moist heat. A moist heat heating pad will provide for more comprehensive healing than a dry heat heating pad. Dry heat is often more appropriate for acute minor injuries or conditions that involve inflammation or swelling. Dry heat will remove water from the area of treatment, which will in turn reduce the inflammation, which further reduces the pain. Moist Heat More Effective Moist heat heating pads are able to be more effective because they use moisture to penetrate painful areas. Moisture is a more effective conductor of heat than air. In some comparisons, moist heat has been shown to penetrate almost 30 times better than dry heat. That means that moist heat is able to penetrate deeper into sore, painful areas that dry heat just can’t reach. By providing deeper heat, moist heating pads provide deeper and faster healing. Sore tissues are able to tolerate moist heat at higher temperatures than dry heat. Although most injuries requiring the use of a heating pad don’t require a high temperature, there are some serious injuries that heal faster with increased heat. Increase Blood Circulation In order for an area to heal, blood circulation must be increased. If the injury is deep, near the bone, for example, higher temperatures will be needed to reach the area. Blood vessels that are far under the surface deep to dilate in order to bring healing oxygen and nutrients to the injured area. Moist heat also lets those same blood vessels carry more toxins away from the painful area. Moist heat has also been shown to provide faster, as well as deeper, relief. How Long to Use Continue reading >>

6 Ways To Pamper Your Feet When You Have Diabetes

6 Ways To Pamper Your Feet When You Have Diabetes

Proper foot care is essential when you have diabetes. Without it, minor foot problems can quickly turn into serious issues. So why not go all out and give your feet the special treatment they deserve? Here are 6 suggestions for how to pamper your feet when you have diabetes. Use a good foot cream Dry feet can cause the skin on your feet to crack, which leaves you vulnerable to foot infections and foot ulcers. After a bath or shower, apply a moisturizing cream to keep your feet feeling soft. Be careful not to moisturize between your toes, however. Moisture buildup can contribute to fungal infections of the foot and tissue breakdown. Invest in quality socks What’s more comfy than the perfect pair of socks? If you have diabetes, there are a few things to keep in mind when selecting socks. Avoid socks with tight elastic bands or internal seams as they can restrict the circulation of blood to your feet. Also stay away from very thick, bulky socks, which can also reduce your circulation. Wear socks to bed Do your feet tend to get cold at night? Don’t reach for that hot water bottle or heating pad. People with diabetes often have a loss of sensation in their feet, so cuddling up to a hot object could lead to unexpected burns. Wearing socks to bed is a safer bet for keeping your feet warm on cold nights. Get a comfy pair of slippers People with diabetes should never go barefoot. Walking barefoot around the house puts you at risk for foot injuries like cuts or scrapes. Make sure you keep a comfortable pair of slippers or Crocs on hand to wear while relaxing at home. Give yourself a pedicure Going to a nail salon can be a nice treat, but if you have diabetes, nail salons may not be prepared to give your feet the extra special treatment they need. By doing your own pedicure at Continue reading >>

Infections In Diabetic Burn Patients

Infections In Diabetic Burn Patients

Abstract OBJECTIVE— Diabetic burn patients comprise a significant population in burn centers. The purpose of the study was to determine the demographic characteristics of diabetic burn patients and their rate of community-acquired and nosocomial infections. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—This was a 46-month retrospective chart and patient registry review comparing diabetic with nondiabetic burn patients. Statistical analysis consisted of means ± SD, descriptive statistics, one-way ANOVA, and χ2 tests. RESULTS—Of 1,063 adult burn patients (aged 15–54 years), 68 (6%) diabetic burns were compared with burns of 995 adult nondiabetic patients. Of 193, 62 (32%) senior (≥55 years of age) diabetic burns were compared with 131 nondiabetic senior burns. The major mechanism of injury for the diabetic patients was scalding and contact, in contrast to that of nondiabetic patients who were injured mainly by scalding or flame burns. Adult diabetic patients had a significantly increased frequency of foot burns compared with adult nondiabetic patients (32 of 68 [68%] versus 144 of 995 [14%], P = 0.001). Adult diabetic burns had a significant increase in sepsis (P < 0.002) and community-acquired burn wound cellulitis (P < 0.001) compared with adult nondiabetic patients; and senior diabetic patients had a significantly increased frequency of urinary tract infections compared with senior nondiabetic burn patients (P < 0.04). The most common organisms in diabetic burn infections were Streptococcus, Proteus, Pseudomonas, Candida species, and MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Forty-two percent of the diabetic patients were admitted during the winter months and 25% in the spring. Only 49 of 130 (38%) diabetic burn patients presented for treatment within 48 h after in Continue reading >>

Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide To Achieving Normal Blood Sugars

Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide To Achieving Normal Blood Sugars

Neuropathy is a word which means "sick nerves." It is an early complication of diabetes which starts to occur in people who have blood sugars most doctors dismiss as "normal" or "mildly prediabetic." Because nerves are damaged by the "mildly" elevated blood sugar levels that most doctors ignore, almost one half of people with Type 2 diabetes already have detectable neuropathy by the time they have been diagnosed with diabetes. Many other people who are never officially diagnosed with diabetes but have higher than normal blood sugars also get "diabetic" neuropathy. It may be a major cause of the impotence so common among men in their 40s and older. You can read the research that connects "prediabetic" blood sugars with the rising incidence of neuropathy here: Research Connecting Blood Sugar Levels with Organ Damage The pain of neuropathy usually starts out in your feet. It can feel like tingling or burning, though some people experience it as feeling like there is something stuck between their toes when nothing is actually there. Less commonly, diabetic neuropathy can cause problems in the hands and arms. Nerves affected by neuropathy eventually become numb. This may feel better than having the painful nerves of early neuropathy, it is more dangerous, because when your nerves are numb, your immune system loses the ability to fight infection, making you vulnerable to the unchecked infections that lead to amputation. When you are examined after your diabetes diagnosis, your doctor should test your feet with a tuning fork or a thin filament that looks like fishing line to see if you have dead nerves in your feet you may not have noticed. Many people with diabetes do and it is an important finding which tells the doctor that you are at risk for serious infections. If the doc Continue reading >>

Caring For Your Feet, Skin And Teeth When You Have Diabetes

Caring For Your Feet, Skin And Teeth When You Have Diabetes

Good personal care can prevent problems caused by diabetes. Daily attention and regular exams are very important. Caring for your feet You need to take extra care of your feet and legs. High blood glucose can cause damage to the nerves and blood vessels in your feet and lower legs. When nerves are damaged, you don't feel problems like sores or cuts on your feet. Amputations caused by diabetes could be reduced by as much as 75 percent with good self-care and regular foot exams by your health care provider. Remember to take your shoes and socks off at each diabetes visit with your health care provider or nurse. This will remind you that you need to have your feet looked at regularly. Diabetes foot care guidelines Look at your feet every day to check for sores, cuts, cracks or blisters. Use a hand mirror, or ask a family member, to check the bottoms of your feet. Wash your feet with slightly warm water every day. Do not soak your feet because this will dry them out and might cause problems like cracking. Always check inside shoes for worn areas or objects that could cause a sore on your foot. New shoes should be broken in slowly. Ask your health care provider if you need special shoes. Use lotion or cream for dry skin, but do not use it between your toes. Cut toenails straight across and smooth out sharp edges. Ask your health care provider or nurse to examine your feet at every checkup. Wear proper shoes and socks even when indoors. Protect your feet from hot or cold conditions. Don't use heating pads or hot water bottles on your feet. Do not smoke. Smoking decreases the blood flow to your feet. Poor blood flow means slower healing and greater chance of infection. Caring for your skin and teeth People with diabetes need to be extra careful in taking care of their skin and Continue reading >>

How To Avoid Foot Problems If You Have Neuropathy

How To Avoid Foot Problems If You Have Neuropathy

CLINICAL DIABETES VOL. 18 NO. 3 Summer 2000 PATIENT INFORMATION Ingrid Kruse, DPM Inspect Your Feet Daily. Look at your feet every day. Check for blisters, cuts, scratches, or cracks in the skin (commonly in the heel). Remember to check between your toes. A mirror can help you see the bottom of your feet, or you can ask a family member or friend to help you. If you experience flu-like symptoms or increased blood glucose levels, be sure to check your feet. They may provide the only warning signals you will receive when a foot infection is present. Make the daily foot inspection a regular part of your morning or evening routine, just like brushing your teeth. This simple task has kept many people with diabetes from losing their feet by helping them identify problems early on. Wear Proper Shoes and Socks All shoes should be comfortable at the time of purchase. Choose a shoe with a soft leather upper, or try athletic shoes for everyday wear. Do not try to "break in" uncomfortable shoes. Buy your shoes at the end of the day when your feet tend to be more swollen than in the morning. The first time you wear your shoes, wear them only for 1 hour and only around the house. Take them off and inspect your feet for blisters or red areas. Slowly increase the wearing time, giving yourself about a week before you wear a new pair all day. Do not wear sandals with thongs between the toes because they can rub deep gashes. Never wear shoes without socks. Socks should be changed daily. Avoid wearing socks with holes or those that have been mended. In sporting good stores, you can find socks that have extra padding under the heel and ball of the foot for better shock-absorption. Do not forget to check your shoes before you put them on by sliding your hand into them. Feel for nail-points an Continue reading >>

Controlling Neuropathic Pain

Controlling Neuropathic Pain

Tips From an Occupational Therapist I am an occupational therapist. In my line of work, I see many clients with neuropathic pain stemming from diabetes. I have never experienced neuropathy myself, but I know from working with my clients that it is often an unrelenting, terrible kind of pain. The burning, the pins and needles, the stabbing sensations, the numbness — peripheral neuropathy is hard to live with and can also be hard to treat. The causes of peripheral neuropathy (neuropathy affecting the legs, feet, arms, or hands) are not well understood, although it is clear that the condition can have a number of triggers, including physical trauma, infections, and toxins. In people with diabetes, neuropathy is usually the result of elevated blood glucose levels, which in many cases leads to permanent nerve damage. However, many people with diabetes find that improving their blood glucose control — especially if their blood glucose far exceeds recommended levels — can lead to a reduction or even elimination of neuropathy symptoms. In part because of the unknowns surrounding the physical mechanisms of neuropathy pain, conventional drug treatments can be hit or miss when it comes to getting relief. You may have to be zonked out on pain medicine to get any substantial effect, and even then you may still feel pain. It can be hard to find the balance between pain relief and quality of life. However, we therapists have a few techniques up our sleeves for “tricking” the nervous system into perceiving less pain. As a disclaimer, everyone responds differently to each of these techniques. You may have to try several approaches before you find one that works for you. The word “works” also carries some ambiguity, since none of these approaches is a cure-all for neuropath Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Cold Feet: Prevention And Treatment Tips

Diabetes And Cold Feet: Prevention And Treatment Tips

Do you sometimes feel as though your feet are in the Arctic while the rest of you is in the Bahamas? The cold feet phenomenon is one of those strange side effects of diabetes that can definitely affect your quality of life. Understanding what causes it and how to treat it can go a long way toward making you more comfortable. What causes cold feet? For some, the thought of walking down the aisle causes cold feet; for those with diabetes, the issue isn't as quaint. "In most cases of patients with diabetes that complain of 'cold feet', it can be attributed to one of two causes, vascular insufficiency or diabetic neuropathy," said Gary F. Stones, DPM, President of the New York State Podiatric Medical Association. "I have found in my experience that it is often the latter, but may have a component of small vessel disease often seen in diabetics." Diabetic peripheral neuropathy, sometimes known as DPN, is one of the most common underlying problems that leads to cold feet. It can also lead to tingling, burning, sharp pains or cramps, sensitivity to touch or numbness of the feet. You feet might seem warm to the touch, but they feel cold to you. The symptoms might be much worse at night. Though it can be tempting to simply dunk your feet in warm or hot water, that's the last thing you should do. "Never soak your feet in hot water," Dr. Stones cautioned. "This can lead to thermal injury and in some cases have disastrous consequences, especially in someone with DPN and underlying vascular insufficiency." You should also avoid heating pads or hot water bottles, as these can cause burns. These home remedies might help you overcome the annoying feeling of ice-cold feet: Wear warm socks and shoes most of the time. Always wear warm socks to bed. Invest in an electric blanket and turn i Continue reading >>

Heat Therapy: How Heating Pads Work To Make You Feel Better

Heat Therapy: How Heating Pads Work To Make You Feel Better

The Egyptians believed in the curative effects of heat as early as the fifth century BC, and used hot water, steam, sand, and mud baths. The Greek physician Hippocrates prescribed heat for “spasticity,” and pains in the extremities and torso, while the Chinese and Japanese were among the first to use natural hot springs to treat arthritic problems and many other disorders. Scientific research confirms the benefits of applied heat or “thermotherapy,” which now comes in many forms from heating pads to ultrasound. How Heat Therapy Works Studies show that heat therapy increases blood flow, raises the temperature of deep tissue and makes muscles more flexible. When blood flow is increased, more nutrients and oxygen can reach the injured area, helping it to heal. The application of heat also eases pain. In one study of 371 people suffering acute lower back pain, a heat wrap relieved pain and muscle stiffness, and improved flexibility significantly better than either ibuprofen or paracetamol. Functional brain-imaging research has shown that applied heat activates certain parts of the brain, which may mitigate the sensation of pain. How to Use Heat Therapy Take advice from a doctor or physiotherapist. Specialists divide heat treatments into three types: conduction, convection and conversion. Conducted heat therapies range from hot paraffin wax baths for arthritic disorders, to wheat bags, heating pads or wraps for acute muscular pain, to a simple hot-water bottle for menstrual pain. Convection methods, such as moist or hot air baths, or fluidotherapy (a stream of dry heat), also work well for arthritic conditions, muscle spasms and muscle or joint injuries. Therapies using heat converted from another energy source, such as ultrasound or diathermy (high-frequency electro Continue reading >>

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic Neuropathy

Please note: This information was current at the time of publication. But medical information is always changing, and some information given here may be out of date. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit familydoctor.org, the AAFP patient education website. What is diabetic neuropathy? Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage that happens in people with diabetes. It is more common in men than in women. People with diabetic neuropathy can have numbness (loss of feeling), tingling, or pain in different parts of their body. Most often, the nerves and skin of the feet are affected. Diabetic neuropathy also can affect other nerves and areas of skin, blood vessels, and the heart, bowel, bladder, or genitals. What causes diabetic neuropathy? If your blood sugar levels are high, you are more likely to get diabetic neuropathy. Over time, high blood sugar levels damage blood vessels and nerves. What can I do to keep from getting diabetic neuropathy? Treatment of diabetes can delay or prevent diabetic neuropathy. Here are some things you can do: • Learn as much as you can about diabetes and how to control the disease. Work with your doctor to set goals, such as better blood sugar control and getting more exercise. • Keep your blood sugar levels within your goal. • Learn how a healthy diet and exercise can lower your blood sugar levels. • If you have high blood pressure or a high cholesterol level, take your medicine. Tell your doctor if you cannot take your medicines in the way they are prescribed. • If you are overweight, ask your doctor what you can do to lose weight. • Do not use alcohol or tobacco. Record keeping is important: • Keep a list of all medicines, supplements (such as vitamins), and herbal products that you take. Writ Continue reading >>

Why Is Heat Massage Not Recommended For Diabetics?

Why Is Heat Massage Not Recommended For Diabetics?

Question Originally asked by Community Member SANDRA Why Is Heat Massage Not Recommended For Diabetics? WE BOUGHT MY MOM A CHAIR MASSAGER THAT COMES WITH HEAT BUT ON THE MANUAL IT STATES IF DIABETIC DO NOT USE WHY? Answer Hi Sandra, Well heat can burn skin, altho with this chair I tend to doubt that it would get that hot. But the concern is this. If someone geta a burn, especially on their back and it doesn’t heal or becomes infected you have a huge risk for complications. I think it all depends on where your mom’s diabetes a1c level is. If she is in good control(below 7) and actively managing her diabetes, she probably would be just fine. But if she has more complicated health issues or is not in good control, then I would probably leave the heat off. You should know Answers to your question are meant to provide general health information but should not replace medical advice you receive from a doctor. No answers should be viewed as a diagnosis or recommended treatment for a condition. Continue reading >>

Science Confirms: Infrared Light Therapy For Neuropathy Works (here’s How)

Science Confirms: Infrared Light Therapy For Neuropathy Works (here’s How)

Professor David A. Arnall, chair of physical therapy at East Tennessee University, has lived with Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy for 20 years. Arnall is a self-proclaimed professional skeptic. He believes in evidence-based medicine. And yet: Arnall, the skeptic, will tell anyone who will listen that he believes infrared light therapy for Neuropathy can restore sensation and reduce neuropathic pain like nothing else. “My neuropathies are gone” Says Arnall. After trying every available therapeutic option (including surgery) with no luck, he discovered infrared light therapy (LLLT), which has succeeded where all other treatments failed. (You can read about his story and his clinical studies here). Can low-level laser therapy relieve your Neuropathy symptoms? Can it stop the numbing, the burning, tingling and excruciating pain – without any side effects? The answer is yes. What is Infrared Light Therapy? Infrared rays are nothing new. They’ve been around as long as the sun itself, and you feel the infrared heat every day in the warming rays of sunlight. Infrared radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation (just like radio wave or x-rays). Infrared (IR) light is invisible to human eyes, but people you can feel it as heat. Why does this matter? In the last few decades, this energy is being harnessed (and concentrated) in a simple technology you can use anytime and anywhere to warm your deep tissues (including your nerves) – to melt away pain and inflammation. In fact, this simple technology (also known as MIRE therapy – monochromatic infrared light energy) delivers the most effective pain relief available without a prescription. All you have to do is sit back and relax for a few minutes while it goes to work soothing away your pain, numbing and burning. But: Continue reading >>

How To Make A Homemade Heating Pad

How To Make A Homemade Heating Pad

A heating pad is one of the best sources of relief for sore necks and backs. Applying heat can help reduce pain in strained or overexerted muscles. Making your own heating pad is a quick and easy way to soothe your sore muscles and joints with materials around your home. There are several ways to make one. Why They Work The most important aspect of heat therapy is its ability to increase blood flow to the painful areas. Heat opens up blood vessels, which allows for blood and oxygen to flow more readily to the sore areas. Heat therapy tends to reduce muscle spasms as well, causing the muscles, ligaments, and tendons to relax. Doctors sometimes recommend using heating pads for relief from menstrual cramps or urinary tract infections. In these cases, apply a heating pad to the abdomen. Dangers Be sure to follow the instructions for using your electric heating pad to prevent burns, electric shocks, and fire. Never use a heating pad on infants, people with diabetes, people who have suffered a stroke, or anyone with a decreased ability to sense pain. Making Your Own: Method 1 Nathan Wei, MD, a board-certified rheumatologist and head of the Arthritis Treatment Center in Maryland, offered a simple method for making your own heating pad. You’ll need: two hand towels a ziplock bag a microwave Step-by-Step Wet both towels with water, squeezing out the excess water until they’re just damp. Put one towel in the ziplock bag, being sure to leave the bag open. Place the bag in the microwave and heat on high for two minutes. Remove the bag from the microwave. Be careful — it will be hot! Seal the ziplock bag, and wrap the other wet towel around the bag. Apply your homemade heating pad to the sore area. The heat should last about 20 minutes. Making Your Own: Method 2 Like most peop Continue reading >>

Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetic Foot Care Of the sixteen million Americans with diabetes, 25% will develop foot problems related to the disease. Diabetic foot conditions develop from a combination of causes including poor circulation and neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy can cause sensitivity or the loss of ability to feel pain, heat, and cold. Diabetics suffering from neuropathy can develop minor cuts, scrapes, blisters, or pressure sores that they may not be aware of due to the sensitivity. If these minor injuries are left untreated, complications may result and lead to ulcerations and possibly even amputation. Neuropathy can also cause deformities such as bunions, hammer toes, and charcot feet. It’s very important for diabetics to take the necessary precautions to prevent all foot related injuries. Due to the consequences of neuropathy, daily observation of the feet is critical. When a diabetic patient takes the necessary preventative footcare measures, it greatly reduces the risks of serious foot conditions. Do’s Inspect your feet daily for blisters, cuts, and scratches. The use of a mirror can aid in seeing the bottom of your feet. Always check between your toes. Wash you feet daily. Dry carefully, especially between your toes. Avoid extreme temperatures. Test water with your hands or elbow before bathing. If your feet feel cold at night, wear socks. Inspect the insides of your shoes daily for foreign objects, nail points, torn linings, and rough areas. For dry feet, use a very thin coat of lubricating oil such as baby oil. Apply this after bathing and drying your feet. Shoes should be fitted by a orthotist (footcare specialist) and be comfortable at the time of purchase. Shoes should be made with leather. In the winter months take special precautions. Wear wool socks and protective fo Continue reading >>

Patient Education: Foot Care In Diabetes Mellitus (beyond The Basics)

Patient Education: Foot Care In Diabetes Mellitus (beyond The Basics)

INTRODUCTION Foot problems are a common complication in people with diabetes. Fortunately, most of these complications can be prevented with careful foot care. If complications do occur, daily attention will ensure that they are detected before they become serious. It may take time and effort to build good foot care habits, but self-care is essential. In fact, when it comes to foot care, the patient is a vital member of the medical team. This topic review presents a general overview of diabetic foot complications and guidelines for good foot care. DIABETES AND FOOT COMPLICATIONS Diabetes can lead to many different types of foot complications, including athlete's foot (a fungal infection), calluses, bunions and other foot deformities, or ulcers that can range from a surface wound to a deep infection. Poor circulation — Longstanding high blood sugar can damage blood vessels, decreasing blood flow to the foot. This poor circulation can weaken the skin, contribute to the formation of ulcers, and impair wound healing. Some bacteria and fungi thrive on high levels of sugar in the bloodstream, and bacterial and fungal infections can break down the skin and complicate ulcers. More serious complications include deep skin and bone infections. Gangrene (death and decay of tissue) is a very serious complication that may include infection; widespread gangrene may require foot amputation. Approximately 5 percent of men and women with diabetes eventually require amputation of a toe or foot. This tragic consequence can be prevented in most patients by managing blood sugar levels and daily foot care. Nerve damage (neuropathy) — Elevated blood glucose levels over time can damage the nerves of the foot, decreasing a person's ability to notice pain and pressure. Without these sensation Continue reading >>

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