November is American Diabetes Month 2015

Many of our Diabetic clients have asked: “How can my Diabetes affect my feet?” A diabetic whose blood sugar level stays too high for a long time can develop some serious complications which can include leg and foot problems. If your blood glucose is high, your body loses fluid, you become dehydrated and your skin becomes dry. This happens because your body is trying to remove the excess glucose from the blood and creates more urine. Your skin can get dry if the nerves in your legs and feet do not get the message to sweat (diabetic neuropathy). Sweating helps keep the skin soft and moist. Dry skin can become red and sore.  It can crack and germs can enter through the cracks in your skin and cause bad infections. Dry skin can become itchy, and scratching can lead to breaks in the skin and once again infection.

Skin problems are common in people with diabetes. An elevated blood glucose creates an excellent breeding ground for bacteria and fungi and can actually reduce the body’s ability to heal itself. Up to one third of the people with diabetes will have a skin disorder related to diabetes. Fortunately many can be prevented or successfully treated if caught early. These skin infections can affect anyone, but people with diabetes are much more prone to getting these conditions, which can become much more serious in diabetics. The high blood sugars make these infections longer to heal.

Don’t risk your health. Get treatment for foot wounds as soon as possible:

Get help for open wounds.

Visit a podiatrist, a doctor specializing in foot care, if you have an open cut, blister, or sore on your foot that isn’t healing. Do not try to treat yourself with over-the-counter antibiotic ointments. Experts consider a wound that won’t heal to be a problem that needs aggressive treatment. “The longer things go, the more chance people have of losing a toe or losing a foot,” says Michele Kurlanski, DPM, a wound-care specialist at Lighthouse Foot and Ankle Center in Portland, Maine, who is certified by the American Academy of Wound Management. She says her patients may try “self-inflicted bathroom surgery” that makes problems such as blisters, corns, and calluses even worse. Leave the treatment to professionals.

Follow treatment instructions.

When you do go to a podiatrist or other specialist for wound care, staff members might take an X-ray of your foot to see how far an infection has spread. They’ll clean the wound and cut away any dead tissue. They’ll most likely take a tissue culture, and the doctor may suggest you use a walking boot or crutches to keep your weight off the foot as it tries to heal. You’ll probably visit your podiatrist weekly during the healing process.

Try to hit your blood glucose targets.

Your podiatrist will also ask about your diabetes management. “You treat a wound, but the wound’s attached to a patient, and that patient might have risk factors that are contributing to that wound,” Raphael says. Your podiatrist might team up with your diabetes educator, endocrinologist, primary care provider, or others to help you manage your diabetes.

Be prepared for intensive treatment.

If you haven’t healed in four weeks, your doctor may want to hospitalize you for more intensive treatment, including tissue grafts, in which healthy tissue is removed from other parts of your body and attached to your foot to promote healing.

Remember, as we have stated before…being compliant with wearing your Jobst, Mediven, Sigvaris, or Juzo compression stockings and support socks (in the compression necessary for your diagnosis) is the key to keeping your feet healthy.

If you are a diabetic, the following is your first line of defense:

  • Check your feet each day.
  • Make sure your feet stay clean and dry.
  • Cut or file toenails with the shape of the toe, smoothing out all sharp edges. (Support Hose Plus suggests you see a Podiatrist regularly)
  • Moisturize dry skin with a good lotion or cream
  • Avoid injury to the feet. Have corns, calluses, or ingrown toenails treated by a professional.
  • Wear well-fitting, soft shoes.
  • Check shoes daily for things that might damage your feet.
  • Keep your blood glucose under control

Wear well-fitting socks, with a non-irritating toe seam, made of material that wicks moisture away from the skin.

Here’s to healthy, happy feet,

Vanda
www.supporthoseplus.com

 

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