Diabetes affects many people. In fact, nearly 4.1 million adults in the United States have prediabetes according to the American Association of Diabetes Educators.
That means nearly 33.9% of the adult population face the potential health complications that come with having diabetes. One of the most common areas your diabetes might affect?
Your foot health.
Diabetic foot care is of the utmost importance. A lack of blood sugar control can lead to losing your lower extremities. Consider how to take care of your foot health and avoid losing your precious little piggies.
What causes foot ulcers?
Diabetic foot problems mainly begin due to damage of the nerves (neuropathy) and blood vessels from high blood sugar levels. This means your body can't carry blood to injured areas very well. You also might not be able to feel said injury in the first place to take preventative measures to prevent these ulcers. This is called protective sensation and can cause foot ulcers to grow more quickly before they can be treated.
How do I know if I am at risk for foot ulcers?
Anyone with diabetes has increased chances of developing ulcers on the feet. Your risk also increases if you have a history of other ulcers, heart disease, and neuropathy, or if you are overweight or use alcohol and/or drugs excessively. It's important to have your feet checked regularly by a podiatrist if you know your risk for foot ulcers is increased.
How do I prevent foot ulcers?
Doing your best to take care of your diabetes is imperative in maintaining good foot health. While no diabetic is perfect, working hard to maintain a healthy A1C will help you to avoid neuropathy and the weakening of your blood vessels. Make sure to wear appropriate socks and shoes and avoid situations that would cause a laceration in your feet.
If you have found yourself in a situation where you are experiencing neuropathy, a foot examination and early treatment could be the difference between keeping your feet and an amputation. Find a good foot doctor in your area that you can trust and see regularly to prevent foot ulcers from forming. Even better, consider finding a diabetic foot specialist who has that extra training to help you maintain quality foot health.
How do I treat a foot ulcer?
The most important thing you can do if you have developed a foot ulcer is seeking treatment as early as possible. Keep the wound clean and bandaged and seek treatment from a podiatrist immediately. There have been developments in dressings that use actual biological matter to cover the wound and encourage healing. You may be encouraged by your podiatrist to stay off the injured foot, using crutches or some type of foot gear. Again, it's important to keep your blood sugar levels tightly controlled during this time to ensure proper blood flow to the injured or infected areas. Taking extra precautions when it comes to your foot health will keep you up and on your feet.