A Guide to Diabetes and Foot Care
Good foot care is important for people who suffer from diabetes – that includes making sure you monitor your feet regularly, get the right, professional treatment when needed and also maintain a healthy lifestyle.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is one of the most common health problems in the UK. It occurs when our bodies are unable to deal with high levels of blood glucose and can it can have serious consequences if left untreated. There are two types both of which affect the amount of insulin we produce:
Type 1 Diabetes: This is caused by an autoimmune disorder that attacks our insulin producing cells and affects about 10% of people who have diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes: This is the more common form of diabetes and is caused by numerous factors, both genetic and lifestyle, and again means less insulin is produced. Changing your diet and living healthily can control and even reverse Type 2 Diabetes.
How are Your Feet?
Diabetes causes problems with circulation and can lead to nerve damage. This often affects the extremities such as the feet leading to loss of sensation and poor blood supply. This is why sufferers need to be much more diligent than those who don’t have the condition.
Wounds or damage to the foot generally take longer to heal. Due to a lack of sensation, you might not notice there is a problem because sensation is reduced. A blister on the foot if you have diabetes, for example, could be a medical emergency and needs to be dealt with quickly and appropriately by a medical professional such as a podiatrist.
Good Foot Care
- It’s important to inspect your feet regularly to check that there aren’t any cuts or other damage that need attention.
- Keep your feet clean and dry as best you can.
- Wear shoes that fit properly and avoid walking barefoot in areas where you might incur an injury such as outside or when you visit the beach.
- Make sure you have your toenails cut regularly.
- Ensure that problems such as corns or hard skin are treated quickly.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, this is one of the first things your medical professional will impress upon you. If you smoke, you should aim to give up. If you have bad eating habits, you need to change them. Getting more exercise into your life can also improve your circulation and help cut down on the development of problems. Particularly for Type 2 Diabetes, changes to lifestyle can have a huge impact – in some cases it has been found to dramatically reverse the progress of the disease.
The Role of Your Podiatrist
Because of the nature of the condition, you should see a podiatrist at least once a year to have your feet inspected. A podiatrist is a health professional who is properly trained to deal with medical issues associated with the feet and lower limps. You need to watch out for:
- Breaks on the skin of the foot or discharges from a wound.
- Changes to the skin colour that suggest damage has been done to the skin or the tissue beneath. If your foot looks red, darker or lighter than usual, you should immediately visit your GP or podiatrist.
- Swelling or redness around the area of an ulcer can also be an indication that something is wrong.
Visiting a qualified podiatrist is important if you suffer from a condition such as diabetes and building a relationship with someone you trust can help put your mind at ease as well as keep your feet healthy. A podiatrist will know what problems to look for but can also give advice on how best to look after your feet.
At the Beauchamp Foot Care Clinic, we have qualified and experienced podiatrists available who can give you the advice and treatment you need. Contact us today to book an appointment.