November is National Diabetes Month, which means it’s time to promote awareness of this disease caused by elevated glucose (sugar) levels in the blood stream.
If you are diabetic—and a sizeable number of Americans are (currently over 29 million, with another 84 million who can be categorized as “prediabetic”)—you have a lot of health concerns. The disease has wide-ranging effects on the entire body. As such, it’s easy to lose sight of how diabetes affect foot health. The truth of the matter, though, is that there are serious medical complications that can happen to diabetic feet!
As we explore diabetes and foot health, there are a couple of key areas of concern. You will see that these include neuropathy (nerve damage), peripheral vascular disease, and impaired immune function.
Nerve health is important for living a full life and being able to appreciate everything this world has to offer. They allow you to:
- Take in the natural beauty while hiking at any of our local parks;
- Catch inspiring performances at the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts in Orlando;
- Or savor the delicious tastes and smells at Kres Chophouse, The Capital Grille, Emeril’s Orland, or any of the other fine dining restaurants in our local communities.
Of course, your nerves do much more than contribute to the experience of living – they actually allow you to live in the first place. As such, it’s concerning when elevated sugar levels from diabetes cause damage to nerve tissues throughout the body, especially sensory nerves.
The sensation of touch can certainly contribute to enjoyable experiences, but it also lets you know when a problem exists. For this reason, pain can actually be a good thing (as strange as that might be to think about).
It’s certainly concerning to lose the ability to feel anywhere on your body. Feet, though, spend a lot of time covered by socks and shoes, plus they are physically the farthest points from your eyes. This means you need to rely on your sense of touch to know when problems develop in your feet. Compromised nerves take away that ability.
Being unaware of existing problems—like cuts, scrapes, ingrown toenails, blisters, and calluses—is further complicated by restricted blood flow. Your body relies on the circulatory system to keep blood flowing, thereby nourishing organic tissue and carrying antibodies to fight off infections. This means unattended wounds do not heal properly and increase infection risk. Over time, this can lead to serious medical complications known as diabetic foot ulcers – a leading cause of lower limb amputation.
We don’t want you to be at risk for diabetic foot ulcers (or any other complication from diabetes), so contact Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida and request an appointment. One of our medical specialists will work with you to create a diabetic foot care plan based on actions you can take to keep feet healthy and safe. Call us today at 407-339-7759 or 352-589-9550 (if calling from Lake County) for more information or to schedule your appointment.