diabetic foot

The diabetic foot, diabetes effects the whole body however it can cause many problems in the feet. In the diabetic patient they produce less insulin than in a normal patient, the insulin is used by the body to break down sugars within the body with less insulin there is elevated amounts of  sugar in the blood. There are two types of diabetes, type 1 or juvenile onset this is generally the more dangerous type as patients develop this at a very young age and hence there is longer for the effects of diabetes to be felt, this type is generally treated with injections of insulin . Type 2 or late onset diabetes is generally developed later in life and is  controlled with medication or diet.
Over time diabetes generally damages peripheral nerves such as those in the feet this leads to peripheral neuropathy or loss of sensation. It is very important that the patients peripheral sensation is tested by a Podiatrist on a regular basis. Peripheral neuropathy means that if a patient gets a small stone in their shoe the foot might be damaged without the patient being aware of it, leaving an open wound with high blood sugar this is a site that is prone to infection. Diabetes also affects circulation particularly in small vessels like found in the feet, this obviously leads to reduced healing. Foot ulcers are common in diabetic patients as they have reduced healing ability. If a diabetic patient develops an ulcer they can take months to heal leaving them prone to infections.
Other complications due to peripheral neuropathy can be Charcot foot, this is where a patient injures their foot without even being aware of it, they keep walking which damages the foot even further.
Diabetic patients should visit a Podiatrist regularly and have routine Podiatric care. They should not cut their toenails unless they still have good sight and are flexible enough to accomplish this task. If they have any corns or callous they should only be removed by a professional, the patient should never attempt to remove them as this could result in an injury. Patients should check their feet on a daily basis. If an injury does occur the patient should visit a Podiatrist as soon as possible.











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Page last updated 14 October, 2007