Who Needs Diabetic Foot Care?
The answer is, anyone with Diabetes should have a yearly diabetic foot exam to check for Diabetic Neuropathy and prevent foot infections. Diabetes is a serious metabolic disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, which causes high blood glucose levels. This is toxic to the bodies smallest blood vessels- to the eyes, the kidneys, and to the nerves of the feet. That is why in addition to yearly diabetic foot exams, they should also have their eyes and kidneys tested!
It afflicts about 16 million Americans and can cause very serious long-term complications, including kidney damage, cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, eye damage, osteoporosis, and foot damage.
What To Expect During a Diabetic Foot Exam
Our main goal is to prevent foot infections leading to amputations; your Podiatrist will first ask many questions about your blood sugar. Then she will visually inspect the skin of the foot for any open areas, cracks between the toes or on the heels, and the condition of your skin (too damp or too dry) Areas of redness and blisters are attended to. Different treatment protocols are recommended for each condition. Then Dr. Lee will check your pulses in your feet to see if you have adequate blood supply to heal any wounds. Next the neurological exam uses a very specific thickness of nylon bristle to check the nerves in your foot and determine if protective sensation is intact. This determines if you have DIABETIC NEUROPATHY, which is serious, but can be managed by your podiatrist. Last she will check for any bony deformities that put you at risk for pressure sores that can open the skin and become infected.
There are several types of diabetes:
- Type 1: Adults with this type of diabetes (sometimes know as insulin-dependent) cannot make their own insulin, so they must take it every day to live.
- Type 2: People with this, the most common type of diabetes, may have to take insulin or pills so that their body can use insulin more effectively. Type 2 diabetes is connected to family history, age, and obesity, among other things.
- Gestational diabetes: This type is experienced by women in the later stages of pregnancy. It usually disappears after a woman has given birth, but about 50 percent of women who experience gestational diabetes will then develop Type 2 diabetes in as few as five years.
Foot Damage in Diabetics
Because of reduced blood flow or nerve damage in the feet, individuals with diabetes are prone to many complications, including foot infections. If left untreated, these infections—some of which begin as just cuts or blisters—could lead to potentially serious consequences, including foot, toe or even leg amputation.
What Are Diabetic Ulcers?
Diabetic ulcers are sores that occur when pressure cuts off the blood supply to the skin. The stress that is produces by the body’s own weight, as well as the impact your feet repeatedly striking the ground to day-to-day activities place the ball of the foot, the big toe, and the heel at greater risk. If left untreated, an ulcer may allow infection to enter your body, which can put your limbs or even your life at risk. Fortunately, at Podiatric Associates Foot & Ankle Center, pressure ulcers can be controlled and even prevented.
Keep Your Feet Healthy Through Diabetes Management
The good news is that you can often manage your diabetes to prevent or minimize most diabetic foot problems, reducing the risk of limb loss. Since diabetes affects different parts of the body, most diabetics must see several medical specialists for proper disease management. Podiatric Associates Foot & Ankle Center will work with you to develop an individualized, easy-to-follow plan to help keep your feet healthy.
Do not hesitate to come in for a Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Evaluation.