Diabetes is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body is unable to use it properly.
Usually affects children and young adults. It occurs when there is a reduced, or absence, of insulin production by the pancreas. This type is also known as insulin dependant diabetes mellitus (IDDM). Treatment for IDDM is usually in the form of daily Insulin injections.
Usually affects people over the age of 40, overweight, those with a family history of diabetes, or poor lifestyle, including diet and exercise. It occurs when an insulin resistance develops and therefore, the body has an inability to deal with glucose and fat.
This type is known as non-insulin dependent diabtetes mellitus (NIDDM). Treatment is normally based around lifestyle changes, including weight loss, diet and exercise. Daily medicaton may be required if lifestyle changes do not control blood sugar levels.
How does Diabetes affect the feet?
If Diabetes is poorly controlled for a long period of time it may lead to nerve damage, (periperal neuropathy) which impairs sensation to the feet, and / or reduced blood supply to the feet (poor circulation). Periperal neuropathy results in reduced pain and pressure sensation which means that if you cut your foot, develop a blister or step on something sharp, you may not feel it, and serious infection may develop. If poor circulation is also a factor, the infection may not heal and an ulceration may develop. In serious cases if the ulceration does not heal, the only option may be to remove body tissue (amputate) from the infected area.
NINE STEPS TO THE PREVENTION OF COMPLICATIONS IN THE FEET
The following information will help maintain healthy feet:
1. CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
The first step to foot health is maintaining acceptable blood sugar levels by obeying your doctor’s instructions regarding DIET, TESTING METHODS, MEDICATION, and EXERCISE.
Your circulation will be improved by regular exercise.
- Wear tight garters, stockings, socks or shoes (see our range of Circulation Socks in the Online Shop) section.
- Sit with your legs crossed.
- Expose your feet to extremes of temperature (heater, hot water, ice, cold tiled floors).
Wear well fitting, supportive shoes at all times. Check inside your shoes regularly for rough edges, exposed tacks or foreign objects.
DO NOT use caustic corn cures or plasters. See your PODIATRIST for removal.
5. WASHING & MOISTURISING
Wash your feet in warm (not hot) water using a mild soap. Dry thoroughly, checking carefully between the toes. Apply a water-based cream or lotion to the heels.
6. NAIL CARE
Nails should be cut straight across in line with the end of the toe. It is better to file your nails straight across regularly. See your PODIATRIST if you have difficulty cutting your nails.
Blisters, cuts, scratches should be cleaned with a mild anticeptic or salty water.
Cover with a clean dressing and see your PODIATRIST if you notice signs of inflammation : heat, redness, swelling, and
8. SOCKS AND STOCKINGS
Woollen or cotton socks are better than stretch hosiery. Ensure they are not too tight or ‘cutting off’ the circulation (ie. leaving imprinted bands following removal).
See our range of Circulation Socks in the Online Shop section.
9. PROFESSIONAL ADVICE
Inspect your feet daily, or have someone do this for you. You may need to place a mirror on the floor to see underneath your feet. If you notice any abnormalities consult your PODIATRIST.