The Diabetic Foot

Diabetes has started to become so common, it is almost as though we have become complacent about it. The prevalence is increasing in most countries despite public health strategies are trying to take care of the obesity epidemic which is underpinning the diabetes problem. Diabetes has a number of complications that all join collectively to put the foot at significant risk from complications. These complications range from a minor infection to the more serious complications like a need to amputate a limb a result of a spreading infection or dead tissue. The problems associated with diabetes have an affect on a wide variety of tissues within the body.

In terms of the foot, diabetes impacts the blood supply which means that any damage to the foot is more likely to be serious as there is inadequate good blood flow to permit healing to occur. Diabetes also damages the nerves, so that when there is some trauma, either major or minor such as a blister, then no pain is sensed, so the area continues to be traumatised making the problem considerably more severe. The body has lots of functions to battle infection, but in diabetes the reaction to an infection is significantly slower than in those not having diabetes. Diabetes also affects the eye and while the eyes are a long way from the feet, adequate eyesight is needed to see any problems that might have occurred to the foot so it can be addressed. Even the renal disease that is common in diabetes impacts wound healing after the injury has been done and the presence of disease in the renal system can affect what drugs, such as antibiotics, may be used and sometimes that range can be extremely restricted.

It is for all these complications, and others not pointed out, that those with diabetes have to take additional care of their feet. They need to examine them frequently to make certain that there is no injury and if there is damage they need to get medical attention promptly. Most importantly, they need to be regularly seen by a foot doctor.


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