Published on December 10th, 2012 | by AJ0
Understanding The Importance Of Diabetic Foot Care
Individuals with diabetes face a variety of health challenges because the body is unable to regulate blood glucose levels. This condition has widespread consequences and without treatment can lead to damage to vision, kidneys, nerves, and the immune system. Proper diabetic foot care is crucial to reduce the risk of permanent damage.
Nerve damage affects the production of oil and sweat necessary to lubricate the skin on the feet. It also causes a loss of feeling. The bones, joints, and skin are under abnormal pressure while walking and this can cause sores to develop that the individual does not even notice. Without proper treatment, the open wounds cause serious problems.
The muscles, bones, skin, and connective tissues are at risk of developing bacterial infections. Healing these wounds is difficult because the immune system is compromised and blood flow to the infection site is limited. This means antibiotics are unable to reach the site as well.
The inability to treat these infections effectively can lead to the development of gangrene. Once that happens, the only treatment option is amputation. The condition can be life threatening if the infection spreads to the circulation system.
People with diabetes must do all they can to prevent any problems from developing with their feet. They should examine the skin on a regular basis and learn to recognize early symptoms. Individuals may be able to manage some symptoms at home but others require a visit to the doctor or even the emergency room for immediate medical treatment.
Inflammation in the legs or feet may signal an infection, poor circulation, or inflammation. Poor circulation can result in leg pain that increases while walking or skin on the legs that is hard and shiny. Sometimes this condition prohibits hair growth on the feet and legs.
Signs of infection include redness in the tissues surrounding a wound, fever, chills, and pus or blood draining from the skin. Red streaks originating from the wound or a spreading area of redness may indicate an infection is getting progressively worse. Individuals suffering from these symptoms should immediately seek medical attention or the consequences could be grave.
Protecting the feet is crucial for people suffering with diabetes. They should make sure their shoes fit properly and may consult with a podiatrist for recommendations. Patients with bunions or flat feet sometimes need to wear prescription shoe inserts or footwear.
Managing diabetes by eating a healthy diet and taking medications will reduce the risk of damage to the nerves and organs. A regular exercise routine will improve circulation and stabilize blood glucose levels as well as keep the joints and bones healthy. Doctors strongly recommend patients quit smoking to avoid serious health problems. Smoking damages blood vessels and causes poor circulation, which increases the risk of developing an infection.
Physicians may prescribe antibiotics to treat an infected wound. A severe infection that threatens life or limb may require aggressive treatment with antibiotics administered through an IV. Patients who practice proper diabetic foot care can avoid the most serious consequences.