If you have Diabetes and find that your feet are often sensitive, tender, or prone to hurting, it is important you know these two words: Diabetic Neuropathy. Diabetic Neuropathy is nerve damage that causes tingling, pain, and even numbness. A whopping 60 – 70% of people with Diabetes have neuropathy somewhere in their body. This is cause for serious concern and a long, hard look at this condition and what you can do about it.
Neuropathy is one of the most common long-term complications of Diabetes. It can occur anywhere in the body, from your lips to your toes. Studies have shown that this condition frequently affects people that have had Diabetes for 25+ years but anyone with Diabetes can develop nerve issues at any time. Nerve damage has several contributing factors including high blood glucose (damages blood vessels), low levels of insulin, and lifestyle choices such as smoking and alcohol use. Some people may think that just because Diabetic Neuropathy is so common, there is nothing they can do to prevent it. But there are dire reasons as to why you should be proactive about this condition.
Diabetic Neuropathy is especially dangerous because you could deeply hurt yourself and not even feel it. Untreated cuts, sores, or blisters can become infected and could ultimately lead to decay and ulcers in your limbs. In extreme cases, amputation is needed to prevent gangrene or an infection from spreading to other parts of your body. This happens frequently enough to be a concern. Loss of sensation isn’t the only symptom that develops from nerve damage. Other indications include problems with urination, weakness, and nausea/constipation. Unfortunately, weight loss and depression often accompany these symptoms.
The good news is that with quality foot care and help from your doctor, many of these scenarios can be avoided. What’s the number one way to prevent neuropathy? Maintain safe blood glucose levels. This protects your body’s nerves. Here are some other important tips to consider: maintain a healthy diet, exercise, stop smoking, limit alcohol use, and practice daily foot care.
How to Care For Your Feet When You’re Diabetic
Foot care for Diabetic people looks different than people who do not have Diabetes. There needs to be extra care and caution involved.
- Check your feet daily for calluses, corns, warts, redness, or swelling.
- Use water and a mild soap to wash your feet. Dry your feet, paying close attention to between your toes.
- Use a mirror to check the bottoms of your feet which can often go unchecked.
- Thick toenails should be cut by a podiatrist.
- Inform your pedicurist that you’re a Diabetic and urge them to be gentle.
- Over-the-counter corn or wart removers contain acid. Don’t use them.
- Wear diabetic socks.
- Visit your podiatrist regularly.
- Have your feet assessed by a professional.
Comprehensive Foot Exam
Is mysterious foot pain plaguing you? Do you have an ulcer or growth that you’re concerned about? Don’t keep putting a foot assessment off! Get it done this month and your health will thank you.