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  • Writer's pictureSpine, Health & Stability

Diabetes Awareness - Importance of Diabetes Foot Care

Updated: Nov 7, 2019

National Diabetes Week kicks off on the 14th of July raising awareness on the prevention and management of Diabetes Mellitus. Our Podiatrist Rachel explains why it is so important to manage Diabetes and reduce diabetes-related foot complications.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a serious complex condition where the body is unable to maintain healthy levels of glucose in the blood. Glucose is a form of sugar, which your body collects from food and converts into energy. Insulin is a hormone your body produces to help regulate your blood glucose levels. People with diabetes cannot effectively regulate their glucose levels as they may not produce enough insulin or become desensitised to it. Having high levels of glucose in the blood can lead to both short and long term complications which affect the entire body.

There are 3 types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes – your body does not make insulin due to the cells in the pancreas that make insulin being destroyed by your immune system

Type 2 Diabetes – your body does not make insulin or use insulin well

Gestational diabetes – develops in some women when they are pregnant

Diabetes requires daily self-care and if complications develop, it can have a significant impact on quality of life and reduce life expectancy. Foot problems are common in people with Diabetes, but you can lower your chances of having diabetes-related foot problems by taking care of your feet every day and managing your blood glucose levels with a healthy diet, exercise, medication or insulin injections.

How can Diabetes affect my feet?

Over time, Diabetes may cause nerve damage in the feet called Peripheral Neuropathy which can lead to neurological symptoms such as a tingling, burning or a numb sensation in the feet. When you lose feeling in your feet you may not detect a cut or blister which could then result in infection.

Diabetes can also lower the amount of blood flow to your feet. Reduced blood flow to your legs and feet can make it hard for a cut or infection to heal, these can lead to serious complications such as foot ulcers, gangrene and amputation.

When should I see a Podiatrist?

Regular visits every 8-10 weeks are recommended to maintain general skin and nail care to reduce the risk of diabetes-related foot complications.

A full Diabetes assessment will be conducted every 6 or 12 months depending on your level of diabetes foot health.

Monofilaments are designed to test the loss of sensation in the feet of diabetic patients.

A Diabetes assessment for the feet will determine your:

  • Blood supply

  • Nerve function

  • Biomechanics

  • Footwear

  • Skin/nail condition

Diabetic Foot Care - Doppler Ultrasound

What can I do to reduce diabetic foot complications and keep my feet happy and healthy?

While there is currently no cure for diabetes, you can live an enjoyable life by learning about the condition and effectively managing your blood sugar levels to reduce the likelihood of complications.

  • Regularly monitor your blood glucose levels, aiming for between 4-8mmol/L before meals

  • Regular exercise to promote insulin to work more efficiently, lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease

  • A healthy diet will assist in maintaining ideal blood glucose readings

  • Daily foot checks to assess any changes in the skin and to treat any cuts or blisters which may develop

  • Apply moisturiser to your feet daily to improve skin integrity and prevent cracks in the heels

  • Avoid walking barefoot, especially outside, to reduce the risk of cuts/abrasions and bacterial or fungal infections

For more information or assessment, book an appointment with our Podiatrist Rachel Munnink by calling the clinic on 9852 3044.

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