Over 34 million Americans – about one in ten – have diabetes, a condition with many potential health risks due to the presence of high concentrations of sugar in your blood. Newcomers to the condition may be surprised with the amount of attention health care providers give to their feet. It has to do with their peripheral status. Your feet are not only furthest from your heart, the blood supply to them often works against gravity. High blood glucose levels take an extra toll on your toes.
Dr. Mihaela Perijoc and the team at North Texas Internal Medicine Specialists are concerned about your feet, too. Summer is on its way, and though 2020 presents its own challenges, here are five tips to help ease the diabetes load on your feet, so that this potential trouble spot remains healthy.
Controlling blood glucose levels is the central point around which diabetes treatment revolves. Type 1 diabetics can’t manufacture insulin, the hormone that controls sugar levels in your body, while type 2 diabetics can’t manufacture enough while their bodies resist the effects of insulin. In both cases, high levels of blood glucose are bad news for your feet.
These levels damage both nerves and blood vessels. You may not be able to detect when your feet get injured, and when they are, infection may have an easy time starting, since healing takes longer. Take your medications as directed and eat a diabetes-friendly diet. When your blood sugar is under control, you minimize the advancing damage diabetes can cause.
Summer equals freedom and freedom means liberation from shoes for many. However, little cuts and scrapes that you could once take for granted are no longer ignorable to the nerve damage that accompanies diabetes. Since your body now struggles to fight off infection that enters through slow-healing cuts and sores, prevention becomes more important.
Not just any old shoe will do. Flip-flops can damage the skin between toes, once again raising the risk of infection. The thought of socks and shoes in July may be unattractive, but it’s a prettier alternative to festering sores and gangrene. Choose comfort over style to prevent common foot issues such as calluses and corns. Talk to Dr. Perijoc about whether or not compression socks will help.
Diabetes means daily foot inspections. Since you can’t count on your nerves to tell you something is wrong, self-checks become crucial. Use mirrors if necessary or enlist the aid of a loved one if you can’t inspect all foot surfaces. Cuts, sores, rough spots, and cracked skin between toes are all cause for concern, even if they seem minor.
When you have any foot issue, it’s important to talk to Dr. Perijoc and her team, so that a little foot problem doesn’t get out of hand due to nerve damage and slow healing. Contact the office by phone or using the online booking tool on this page, particularly if you’re new to diabetes and unsure of the risks that foot injuries create.