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Effects of Diabetes on the Feet

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when your blood sugar is too high. Blood sugar comes from the food we eat and is what fuels our bodies with energy. In order for the body to use up this energy, the pancreas produces a hormone namely Insulin which helps the blood sugar get into the human cells. Sometimes, the Pancreas does not or is not able to produce enough insulin which leaves a lot of blood sugar in the blood. This state of too much blood sugar in the blood unable to reach the cells due to low or no insulin is what is referred to as Diabetes.

Diabetes can cause a reduction in the amount of blood flow to the feet thus causing cuts and bruises not to heal. Any infection that sets in becomes very difficult to cure as blood, which carries nutrients and medicine, is unable to reach the target area. It can also lead to death of tissues (gangrene) leading to legs/toes being cut off.

Diabetes can also affect nerves on the feet which can lead to loss of sensation. Loss of sensation is dangerous as an injury can go undetected as there is little or no pain. This leads to unattended injuries that can be dire at the point of discovery. Nerve problems can also lead to very dry cracked skin and even deformed toes.

It is therefore highly recommended that people with diabetes:

  • Wear soft, wide fitting shoes
  • Examine their feet daily for abnormalities
  • Not use blades or acidic preparations to remove hard skin on their feet
  • Not use their feet to test the bath water temperature
  • Wear non elasticated socks
  • Wash and cream their feet daily
  • Seek professional help if they develop any cuts or injuries on their feet
  • Visit a Podiatrist/Chiropodist at least once a year for a diabetic foot assessment

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