Caring for Your Feet
When you have diabetes, your feet need extra-careful attention. That’s because diabetes places you at a higher risk of getting foot infections. There are several reasons for this, and they are all related to high blood glucose levels. First, high blood glucose is associated with damage to blood vessels, which can result in reduced circulation to the feet. If you get a cut or sore on your foot, decreased blood flow will slow the healing process. Second, high blood glucose can keep white blood cells from effectively fighting off an infection. In addition, many people with diabetes develop neuropathy, or nerve damage, in their feet. When nerves are damaged, the ability to sense heat, cold, pressure, and pain may be diminished.
Often, changes in sensation in your feet occur over a long period without you even knowing it. You may experience a tingling, “pins and needles” feeling in your feet, or the nerves may become numbed and you may feel very little. When you lose feeling in your feet, you lose the ability to know when you have a sore, blister, or injury. This is called loss of protective sensation. When you don’t feel the pain, you’re less likely to treat the problem – and that could cause serious complications. Leaving a wound untreated can allow it to become infected, and the infection could become serious enough to require amputation.
Unfortunately, diabetes-related lower-extremity amputations are on the rise. The financial and emotional costs of such losses are considerable. The good news is that if you pay attention to your foot health daily, you can do much Continue reading