The prevalence of diabetes has been rising rapidly over the past years especially in developing countries and diabetes related complications remain a major cause of death among adults globally.
Diabetic foot in particular is one of the most common, costly and severe complication of diabetes. It is characterised by ulceration, infection, gangrene and amputation. World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) says diabetic foot ulcers cause the majority of lower limb amputations in developing countries.
Uncontrolled diabetes (higher than normal blood glucose level) can overtime cause nerve damage also called diabetic neuropathy, it can cause tingling and pain and can make you lose feeling in your feet. As a result, one can have blisters, cuts and sores and not know about it if they don’t check their feet regularly, this may lead to infections.
Diabetes can cause poor blood circulation to the feet and having inadequate blood flowing to your legs and feet can make it hard for a sore or an infection to heal. Sometimes a bad infection never heals and might lead to gangrene (dead tissue). Gangrene and foot ulcers that do not get better with treatment can lead to amputation of your toe, foot, or part of your leg.
Smoking of cigarettes poses a serious threat to the general health of diabetic people and highly contributes to diabetic foot problems as it hinders smooth flow of blood in the veins.
In addition, high blood glucose levels slow down the healing process of an infected foot ulcer therefore it is of utmost importance for a person with diabetes to keep their blood sugar within the normal range for quicker healing. People with type 2 diabetes often have a harder time fighting off infections from ulcers.
When foot problems develop, they need prompt treatment so that serious complications don’t develop. Even problems that seem minor like blisters, cracked or peeling skin need to be evaluated by a doctor. These problems frequently occur as a result of reduced sensitivity in the feet and may lead to more serious infections or foot ulcers if the cause (poorly fitted shoes, excessive weight-bearing or dry skin) isn’t identified and corrected.
Foot care tips if you have diabetes:
n Wash your feet daily and thoroughly check for cuts or sores
* Wear shoes that fit well, ill-fitting shoes can cause corns, ulcers and nail problems
* Change your socks frequently
* Never walk barefoot, especially in the garden to avoid cuts
* Get corns or hard skin treated early