9.3% of people in the United States and Canada have been diagnosed with diabetes. What many people don’t realize though is that taking care of your diabetes goes farther than just watching your sugar intake. High levels of glucose in your blood can cause a lot of issues in your legs and feet such as nerve damage and poor blood flow. Although some problems are uncontrollable, with proper diabetic footcare you help prevent these issues that, if untreated, can result in the loss of your foot/feet.
Whether you have Type I or II diabetes, you need to pay close attention to your feet. It is essential for you to understand just how important your feet are to your health. Failing to prevent or notice unhealthy signs can become a serious issue. Due to the constant build up of glucose in the blood, many people experience nerve damage that results in loss of feeling in the feet. Subsequently; sores, pain, temperature cuts and blisters can go undetected. If any of these ailments persist, they can become infected. Glucose in the blood then acts as a fuel to that infection and causes it to rapidly progress. Another concern is the lack of blood flow to the area. Blood flow throughout your system allows your body to fight off antigens that cause infections; if blood flow is decreased, healing follows suit. Gangrene can then develop and rot the foot, causing the need for amputation.
So, you know the dangers, but how do you prevent them from occurring?
- Invest in special shoes or inserts that support and protect your feet
- Watch for any injuries and treat them immediately
- Monitor feeling and blood flow in your feet and if you recognize problems occurring, talk to your doctor
- Make sure your glucose numbers stay as close to target as possible as to eliminate unneeded issues.
- Take care of your feet; wash them, keep them smooth and always dry them fully. Be careful to not break the skin as it could make you susceptible to infection
- Exercise promotes blood flow and is a good practice for people with diabetes
- Go to a foot specialist at least once a year
- Quit smoking. Smoking causes your blood vessels to harden and narrow, so on top of the cancer risks and heart and stroke risks you increase the decline of your blood flow.
This list focuses on the more serious actions that must be taken to ensure your health. Do not wait until it is too late and symptoms have already started to show themselves. Take action now so that you will always stay grounded on those two feet. Do not take them for granted. At the end of the day we have yet to find a cure for diabetes, but we can take control of the illness and live a long and happy life continuing to put one foot forward. Take care of your feet by paying attention to important signs and signals of health. You’ll thank yourself for doing so.