There is a lot to manage if you have diabetes, such as checking your blood sugar levels, making healthy food, getting exercise, taking medicines to control your blood sugar levels better, and visiting doctors’ appointments. If you don’t have diabetes, maybe you spend your time caring for someone with this disease. You may not be a health professional, but it is essential to care for yourself or someone you love who has diabetes properly so that you can avoid complications.
Complications of Diabetes
Though there are many complications of diabetes, we want to go over the main difficulties one reflects upon when one thinks of this disease.
Peripheral Nerve Damage and Diabetes
Did you know that half the people who have diabetes end up with some kind of nerve damage? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that nerve damage is one of the possible complications of high blood pressure levels for a long time. This happens because when your blood pressure is high, it begins to damage your nerves, forcing them to stop sending messages to different parts of your body. This could lead to what is known as Neuropathy.
Neuropathy means that an individual has numbness, pain, or simply the feeling of weakness in your hands and feet.
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)
People who suffer from diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke, leading the American Diabetes Association to say that CVD is the number one cause of death in people living with diabetes.
Other Foot Complications Associated with Diabetes
Nerve damage affects an individual’s ability to control the oil and moisture in your foot. However, applying too much moisture can lead to infection. This battle is something that affects individuals with diabetes and should be cared for carefully.
If calluses are not correctly handled, they can break down and lead to foot ulcers. Therefore, you mustn’t try to manage calluses on your own, and instead, you should see professional help for calluses when they arise.
Diabetes has the potential to cause blood vessels in your foot or ankle to shrink and harden. In addition, poor Circulation means that your foot is less able to fight infections or even heal from infections.
For individuals with diabetes, foot ulcers most often occur on the ball of the foot or the bottom of the big toe. Choosing to neglect ulcers can lead to infections and eventually amputation.
Should individuals with diabetes not care for their feet or legs, they have a greater chance of needing an amputation than people without this disease.
9 Tips to Help You Care for Someone with Diabetes
Take time to inspect feet daily.
When you inspect an individual with diabetes feet, you look for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling. You should also be aware of any nail problems. Though these issues seem minor, for someone with diabetes, they can turn into significant issues.
Never wash feet in hot water, and always handle the feet with gentle hands.
Due to nerve damage, it can be challenging to feel the temperature of the water. Meaning scolding hot water could cause burns that individuals with diabetes may not feel until it is too late. Just like other wounds, burns can lead to infections and risk futuristic amputation.
Moisturize feet, but not in between the toes.
As we have discussed above, individuals with diabetes have the potential to suffer from a dry feel. As this issue is remedied with moisturizer, it is essential not to put it between the toes. Moisture between the toes can lead to fungal infections.
Trim toenails carefully and consistently straight across.
When toenails are cut too short, ingrown toenails become an issue. At Metro Tulsa Foot and Ankle Specialists, we are happy to help our patients with diabetes cut their toenails in order to avoid the risk of infections such as ingrown toenails.
Individuals with diabetes should wear socks to bed and never walk barefoot around the house.
Walking barefoot around the house can lead to scratches or cuts that can cause significant problems in the long run. When at home, it is best for individuals with diabetes to wear shoes or slippers when walking.
Keep feet warm and dry.
Just as we mentioned above, when it comes to nerve damage and temperature with water, the same can be said for patients with diabetes and cold weather. Wear warm socks and change those socks daily to ensure that they are dry. At Metro Tulsa Foot and Ankle, we recommend wearing cotton socks that do not have elastic in them. These socks will work to absorb sweat and ensure Circulation is not compromised.
Kick smoking to the curb.
Everyone knows that smoking is terrible but choosing to smoke as a person with diabetes is an extremely poor choice. Individuals who smoke and have diabetes have a more challenging time controlling diabetes and are at greater risk of heart and kidney disease, poor blood flow, retinopathy, and enhances peripheral Neuropathy.
Diabetic individuals should wear shoes that fit well.
When shoes fit poorly, the likelihood of blisters and calluses is more likely to arise. If you go shoe shopping for better-fitting shoes, it is best to go at the end of the day when your feet and ankles will be at their largest. It would help if you also kept in mind that new shoes should only be worn for a few hours a day until they are broken in.
Schedule periodic foot exams.
Making the time to see a podiatrist regularly when you have diabetes can help in the prevention of diabetic foot complications. Our professionals recommend seeing a podiatrist at least once a year for an annual visit should you not have signs of diabetic complications. In addition, should you struggle with poor Circulation or Peripheral Neuropathy, it is crucial to make podiatry visits more frequently.
Individuals with diabetes need to take good care of their feet daily. Should you notice any changes or a sign of a developing problem appearing on your feet, it is essential to see your podiatrist as soon as possible. To request an appointment with the specialists at Metro Tulsa Foot and Ankle Specialists, click here.