November is Diabetes Awareness Month
Many Canadians are facing the struggle of diabetes, with an estimated one in three currently diagnosed, and over a million more living with the disease undiagnosed. The goal of diabetes awareness month is to bring attention to the disease, it’s impact, it’s risk factors, and preventative measures you can take so you can hopefully avoid developing it yourself. There are many resources online where you can get further information about diabetes and how it may impact you, including risk factor questionnaires so you can learn how to properly take care of yourself.
We all know how much having diabetes would impact your diet choices, and how you would need to keep on top of monitoring your blood sugar levels, but were you aware of just how much of an effect diabetes can have on your feet?
Diabetes can cause a condition known as diabetic neuropathy, which results in damage to your nerves. This damage impairs your ability to feel changes in temperature, and pain. If the nerve damage is in your legs and feet, this can cause you to not notice cuts, sores, general damage, and injuries to your feet, which may progressively get worse over time and can lead to infections. Reduced sensation and nerve impairment may also cause the muscles in your feet to function incorrectly, leading to further foot problems such as ulcers due to weight being distributed incorrectly, and misalignment of the foot.
Another complication of diabetes is vascular disease. Diabetes has a tremendous impact on your circulation, and when blood flow to the extremities is affected, it is known as peripheral vascular disease. Without proper blood flow, any injury to the feet takes longer to heal. The blood needed to restore the tissue is limited due to the peripheral vascular disease, leaving the wound prone to infection along with the lengthy heal time. If the infection gets worse, it can lead to ulcers, or in the worst-case scenario, gangrene and even amputation of the dead tissue or possibly the whole foot.
Even common foot problems that the general population experiences, such as athlete’s foot, plantar warts, blisters, corns, bunions, and ingrown toenails pose a greater risk to a person with diabetes due to the above-mentioned conditions, and the likelihood of infection.
Proper foot care is important for everyone given the amount that we use our feet, but it is of particular importance to those with diabetes given all the risk factors involved. It is key for diabetics to be performing self-checks on their feet daily, including looking for any cuts, open wounds, signs of infection on the nails or the foot itself, unusual dryness, and corns or calluses. Also important is to monitor the rate of healing for any injury that may have been received to ensure a timely recovery process.
The chiropodists at Comfort Stride offer excellent diabetic foot care, and would be more than happy to help you out with your foot health! Don’t hesitate to contact our foot clinic for any of your feet needs today!