There are a few times in life when a small mistake or decision could lead to large or negative outcome. Those who work in the stock market understand this as well as construction workers who carefully build solid foundations to withstand the test of time. Missing an ingredient can change the entire outcome of a recipe and when it comes to your diabetic health, a lack of care and attention could put you at risk for serious diabetes complications.
If you have diabetes, you know that attention to detail in your feet is important to your overall well-being, in addition to maintaining stable glucose levels and a healthy diet. There are many complications that can arise with diabetes—many appear in the legs and feet. Knowing the signs, symptoms, and possible complications is important. Being proactive about your foot health when symptoms arise could literally mean saving a limb.
The Effects of Diabetes
In addition to the effects that diabetes can have on your heart, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, it can also have a significant effect on your foot health. There are two main problems common among diabetics: neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease. In the first, high glucose levels can damage nerves in your feet, causing an inability to feel heat, cold, and pain. Secondarily, high sugars can also cause blood vessels to narrow and harden, reducing circulation. Neuropathy is dangerous as it can cause small cuts, scrapes, and blisters to go unnoticed. Over time, an injury can turn into a more serious wound that can become worse with poor circulation, since the injury will take a longer time to heal than normal. Due to this, diabetics are at risk for developing gangrene and ulcers—two serious situations that could lead to amputation.
Be On Watch and Take Good Care
To avoid these dangerous complications, it is important to be vigilant when it comes to foot care. Take time every day to inspect and care for your feet. As you wash and dry them, take note of any red spots, bruises, bumps, blisters, and cracks in your skin. Some patients experience dryness in their skin due to diabetes, so proper moisturizing is essential. When skin gets too dry it can crack, making your skin highly vulnerable to infection. Be careful not to put moisturizer between your toes as this can encourage an environment for bacteria and fungus to grow.
If you notice any calluses forming, it could indicate that your shoes are not the right fit and that there is some unwanted friction. Don’t use anything sharp to try and get rid of the rough patches—only use a pumice stone to gently slough away rough, dead skin.
If you have other foot problems such as bunions, hammertoes, or corns, Dr. Gene Reister can appropriately treat them and help prevent discomfort. Choose socks that absorb moisture and avoid elastic bands or shoes that could cut off your circulation. Trim your toenails straight across without cutting corners to avoid the development of an ingrown toenail. Also, avoid smoking, which helps keep cholesterol and blood pressure levels under control.
Dr. Gene Reister and the staff at Richardson Podiatry Associates provide excellent care for diabetic feet. If you have diabetes, you should be seeing a podiatrist at least once a year for a thorough foot exam. We are here to help any time you have diabetes complications. Contact our Richardson, TX, office by calling (972) 690-5374 or use our appointment request option online.