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Diabetes is a lifelong chronic disease that is caused by high levels of sugar in the blood. According to the American Diabetes Association, over 10% of the US population has diabetes. Diabetes complications causes more than 60% of foot amputations in the United States.
While open sores on the foot— called ulcers—are the most common diabetes-related foot problem, serious conditions such as neuropathy, skin changes, calluses, poor circulation, and infection are also prevalent. The nerve damage that diabetes causes may mean a person with an ulcer or injury may be unaware of it until it becomes infected. Infection can lead to partial or full amputation of the foot or lower leg.
How Are the feet affected by Diabetes?
When sugar levels are uncontrolled for an extended period of time nerve damage can occur. This is know as diabetic neuropathy. It can be a shooting or burning pain. Or it can also cause your feet to feel numb and have a tingling sensation. Peripheral neuropathy can be a dangerous condition. Normally, it you injury your foot, there is pain which signals there is something wrong. With neuropathy, the diabetic patient may not realize and injury has occurred. It the injury isn't taken care of promptly, it could lead to infection or even amputation.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
Diabetes can affect the blood flow to your feet. Without good blood flow, it makes it very difficult for your feet to heal from any cut or wound. If you have an infection that is not healing due to poor blood flow, it can become gangrenous. This can lead to amputation.
Poor Immune System
Diabetes comes along with a compromised immune system. Because of this, you have the potential to develop infections easier. It makes infections harder to treat. It generally impacts your ability to heal. That’s why we do so much to avoid complications from diabetes. Once you’ve developed a problem, it is very hard for them to resolve.
While there is no cure for diabetes, there is hope. With proper diet, exercise, medical care, and careful management at home, a person with diabetes can avoid the most serious complications and enjoy a full and active life. Our office can play a key role in helping you manage diabetes successfully and avoid foot-related complications.
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