What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which your blood sugar levels are higher than normal. The effect of this is a disturbance in your body’s ability to deal with a whole range of normal functions, some of which will impact on the health of your feet.
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Red: you should seek professional help immediately, either from an HPC Registered Podiatrist, Physiotherapist or your GP.
Some Common Causes of Diabetes
There are two main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 is hereditary and can be present at a very early age. This version of the disease relies on the sufferer injecting insulin into their bloodstream to control their blood sugar levels.
- Type 2 is late onset (or Adult) diabetes and develops because of various reasons; the main one being the sufferer is overweight. This type does not rely on injections to control it and can be managed through diet, exercise and oral medication.
The Main Symptoms of Diabetes
- A loss of sensation in your feet. Pins and needles, or numbness, will become more frequent. Eventually this gradual process will result in your inability to feel pain in your feet. Considering that you walk all day on them this can have serious consequences for your foot health. Imagine you had cut your foot - if you can’t feel it, how would you know it was there?
- You will also have problems with circulation in your lower legs and feet which will add to the problem as your body will find it much more difficult to fight infection and so on. This can lead to ulcers and even gangrene in very serious cases.
- This disease also affects your kidney function. It affects your eyes and can result in blurred vision or even blindness. You may experience increased thirst and hunger.
- You could have a dry mouth and may require to go to the loo more frequently to urinate.
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain can be a consequence of having this disease.
- Because of your feet being at HIGH RISK you must inspect your feet daily for blisters, bleeding, and cuts between your toes. Use a mirror to examine the bottom of your feet as well.
- Wear specialist diabetic foot care products such as shoes, socks, hosiery, slippers, insoles and so on.
- Your shoes are so important and must fit properly allowing for sufficient room where it is required or where your feet are particularly swollen.
- Use diabetic foot care products to take care of your feet such as specialist creams, lotions and sprays.
- Use a bed cradle to reduce the weight of heavy bedclothes on your feet.
- Take care of your skin! Wash your feet daily in warm, soapy water and dry them thoroughly especially between your toes.
- Cut your toenails very carefully and do not dig into the corners.
- Avoid excessive use of hot water and don’t soak your feet.
- Don’t use any acids or chemical remedies on your feet such as corn plasters and wart treatments.