For the benefit of those who don’t already know, November is Diabetes Awareness Month. This is a time to learn more about the disease and the widespread affect it has on the human body. Diabetes is a major issue in our nation, with the American Diabetes Association reporting that over 29 million Americans are living with this disease. Additionally, estimates indicate that another 86 million have prediabetes, a precursor to the condition.
Diabetes can certainly affect the entire body, but it creates the risk for serious medical issues that start down at the feet. For this reason, diabetic foot care is absolutely essential for those who live with the condition and want to remain safe.
There are two conditions often seen with diabetes—peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and neuropathy—that can potentially lead to critical medical issues.
PAD negatively affects blood flow in the body, particularly through the arteries. Neuropathy is a term that refers to nerve damage. In some cases, damaged nerves can lead to abnormal physical sensations like tingling, burning, and even stabbing pain. More concerning, though, is when damage to your nerves inhibits them from transmitting messages to your brain, especially those indicating that an injury has taken place.
When these two conditions are present, it creates a situation where an injury, even a minor one, can be sustained, and the body 1) doesn’t know it happened due to neuropathy, and 2) is ineffective at properly healing it due to PAD and a weakened immune system. This raises the risk for dangerous infections—ones the body is unable to fight—which can kill living tissue. In many cases, the resulting tissue death (gangrene) requires amputation to prevent the infection from spreading and threatening your life.
The main pillars of diabetic foot care are protecting the feet and identifying issues at the earliest possible stages. This is best achieved through the establishment of a comprehensive daily foot care plan.
Caring for your feet is serious business, but you don’t have to go at it alone! Our team here at Advanced Foot and Ankle is your ally in the health and wellbeing of your feet and ankles. Contact us today for assistance in creating a foot care plan that keeps you healthy and safe. Call our Twin Falls office at (208) 731-6321, our Burley, ID office at (208) 312-4646, or simply connect with us online for either location.