For most people, November is the time of year to begin preparing for the holiday season, but November is also National Diabetes Month. In the United States alone, 25.8 million children and adults have diabetes. This makes up about 8.3% of the population, and is projected to reach 21% by the year 2050. There are millions of Americans with undiagnosed diabetes.
Diabetes can affect the entire body, including the foot and ankle. Neuropathy is one of the most common complaints of diabetic patients. Neuropathy results in damage to nerves, specifically the peripheral nerves, or nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord. Peripheral Neuropathy causes a burning or tingling sensation usually on the feet and legs, or on the arms. This damage to the nerves is caused by excess blood glucose, or high blood sugar. Over time excess glucose injures the walls of blood vessels that supply the nerves. As neuropathy worsens, the ability to feel the lower extremity becomes diminished, which makes diabetics more prone to injuries that go unnoticed. Neuropathy is the leading cause of diabetic foot ulcers. Diabetic foot ulcers are caused from a combination of neuropathy, trauma, and deformity. Deformities such as hammertoes, equinus (limited upward bending of the ankle), or bunions in diabetic patients are more problematic than in non-diabetic patients because of the other complications that come with diabetes. If diabetic foot ulcers are left untreated they may end up getting infected, and even result in amputation. Diabetic patients often have decreased circulation in the extremities due to hardening of the arteries or vessels, and this may slow healing time, which is why it’s vital for diabetic patients to take extra precautions when it comes to caring for their feet.
Although diabetes is a life altering disease keeping a tight control on blood glucose levels can minimize complications. Other ways to protect the feet in individuals with diabetes are by wearing special shoes made for diabetics, examining the feet daily, washing the feet and making sure to dry them completely, avoiding smoking, wearing clean, dry socks that are changed daily, and never walking barefoot. Management of diabetes is the key to preventing complications, and for those that do not have diabetes the key to prevention is exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a well balanced diet.
Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more tips for healthier and happier feet or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.
Columbus Podiatry & Surgery has opened a new location in Gahanna, near Easton. Please call 614-476-3338 (FEET) for an appointment with a podiatrist in Gahanna, OH today.