Diabetes: Why are diabetics more prone to foot problems?

8 October 2019

Diabetes: Why are diabetics more prone to foot problems?

person_outlineSue Mullen
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Diabetes is a disease caused by high blood glucose (sugar) levels. Over time, high levels of glucose in the blood can have serious health effects. Diabetic foot problems is one of them and can effect the quality of life of a sufferer.

How are the feet effected?

Neuropathy, or sensory nerve damage:

High sugar levels damage nerves. Those especially effected are the long nerves to the feet and legs, interrupting the nerve messages to and from the brain. Pain, discomfort and touch can’t be interpreted by the sufferer. This means you could unknowingly damage your feet (eg stepping on a sharp object, getting a nasty blister, stepping into a boiling hot bath) and not realise. If gone unnoticed wounds won’t be treated appropriately and lead to serious consequences.

Motor nerve damage:

This can effect the structure and musculature of the feet leading to clawing of the toes and other deformities and muscle weakness. These foot changes can lead to pressure areas more prone to rubbing and damage.

Circulatory changes:

People with diabetes have a higher risk and the speeding up of atherosclerosis …..this is the building up of fatty deposits in the lining of the blood vessels causing a reduced flow of blood. This is always worse in the extremities, so the foot is particularly at risk of poor circulation. This leads to drier and poor quality skin which is more susceptible to damage. Plus a poor blood supply to cuts and wounds means a longer healing time.

High blood glucose levels also reduce the body’s natural ability to fight off germs such as bacteria and viruses.

However it’s not all doom and gloom!

By keeping your Diabetes well controlled (keeping your sugar levels within the normal range) and plus keeping active, keeping your weight down, not smoking and drinking excessively, diabetic foot problems can be significantly reduce.

If these foot complications do eventually develop…..with good advice on foot-care and footwear, regular checks and treatment with your Podiatrist, you can maintain healthy feet for life.

Next blog…. Diabetic foot care!!

Book an appointment with Sue Mullen on 0208 394 0393.

For more information on how to manage Diabetes in general please visit https://www.diabetes.org.uk

Sue Mullen

Sue Mullen author

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