01 Nov 2019

Diabetes is a serious complex condition affecting the whole body. It requires daily self care to prevent complications that can have a significant impact on quality of life. Anyone can develop diabetes but a family history of diabetes and certain ethnic groups are more susceptible. When someone has diabetes their bodies are unable to maintain a healthy level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

Insulin is a hormone essential for the conversion of glucose into energy our bodies can use. Someone with diabetes either no longer produce insulin  or produce insufficient amounts of insulin resulting in high levels of glucose in the blood which can result in long and short term health complications.

There are 3 main types of diabetes:

Type 1 – an auto immune condition in which the insulin producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed. The symptoms are often sudden and life threatening.

Type 2 – accounts for 85% of all diabetes, is due to insufficient production of insulin, and is one of the major consequences of obesity. It is progressive often with no symptoms or symptoms go unnoticed and seen as part of aging.

Gestational Diabetes – occurs during pregnancy and most women no longer have diabetes after the baby is born. Having gestational diabetes increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Diabetes can be managed well but the potential for complications are the same for whatever type you might have. These complications include:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Limb amputation
  • Depression and anxiety

Common symptoms include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Lethargy and tiredness
  • Slow healing cuts
  • Skin infections and itching
  • Mood swings
  • Blurred vision, headaches, dizziness
  • Leg cramps
  • Unexplained weight loss (type 1)
  • Gradual increased weight (type 2)

How can diabetes affect my feet?

Diabetes can cause problems in the feet including reduced blood flow and nerve damage. Poor blood flow to the feet can cause impaired healing of wounds, infection and ulceration. Peripheral neuropathy, nerve damage, is irreversible and often affects the sensory nerve pathways leading to loss of feeling and altered sensation in the feet. Complications of peripheral neuropathy include wounds, blisters, heavy callous formation due to pressure and friction, infection and ulceration. The major complication of infection and ulceration is amputation. In rare cases peripheral neuropathy can cause changes in foot shape such as Charcot’s foot. A Charcot foot generally starts with redness, warmth and swelling over the mid tarsal joints that later leads to breaking or shifting of the bones to cause an odd ‘rocker bottom’ shape.

What can I do to keep my feet healthy?

  • Check feet daily; both plantar and dorsal surfaces for signs of blistering, wounds and changes in colour and temperature
  • Wash and dry feet thoroughly daily
  • Trim nails straight across and file any sharp edges
  • Protect your feet from hot and cold by wearing good fitting socks and shoes
  • Keep blood flowing to the feet with movement and exercise
  • Most importantly have regular foot checks with a podiatrist

When you visit us here at Sure Step Podiatry we take a thorough history of your complaint and medical details. We then do a full assessment including vascular, neurological and biomechanical screening. The results of this assessment allows us to provide you with appropriate treatment and referral to other professionals if necessary.

Contact Us Today
shutterstock_country family 207624949