The sad fact is that diabetes is becoming increasingly common. So common in fact that it's bordering on becoming an epidemic. Although everyone knows that diabetes has to do with insulin and blood sugar, many people are surprised at how many other parts the body are affected. They also may be very surprised at all the emphasis their physicians and other healthcare providers place on taking care of their feet. Why is this? Why is diabetic foot care
There are two main types of diabetes. In type I, a person's pancreas can't produce enough insulin to control blood sugars. In type II, at least in the early stages a person's pancreas can't produce insulin but because of factors such as diet, obesity and being overweight the insulin becomes less and less effective. That is, a given amount of insulin has progressively less effect on lowering the blood sugar. This is referred to as insulin resistance.
In either case, the end result is high blood sugar. When the blood sugar gets too high it can combine in unusual ways with a number of proteins. Because of this it can create problems in lots of organs.
Some of the more common problems caused by diabetes has to do with injury to the kidneys, eyes, blood vessels and nerves. With regards to the feet, the damage to the circulation of blood vessels are particularly relevant.
When the nerves are damaged it's like they're injected with Novocain. In that situation a person can step on a nail, for example, and never know it.
The nerve injury diabetics experience is called diabetic neuropathy. In the earlier stages it may be painful even as the nerves are failing to do their job of reporting abnormal pressure or other damage to the feet. In the later stages it most often is just a numbness.
The injury also affects the small muscles in the foot that control the alignment of the bones. When these aren't working properly it's very common for the bones to shift out of position causing deformity of the foot. This deformity makes even more likely that abnormal pressure points and areas of injury will develop.
At the same time damage to the circulation by the diabetes compounds the risk for problems.
The mainstay of care, of course, should be the best possible control blood sugars. This can actually prevent, or at least greatly reduce the risk of any serious problems developing.
But even with good blood sugar control, meticulous preventive care is important. This really is a situation where an ounce of prevention is worth way more than a pound of cure. Not to create anxiety and anyone, but the sad fact is that diabetes and the foot problems it causes are the leading cause of leg amputations. That's why diabetic foot care is so important.
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