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Diabetes Week

This week is Diabetes awareness week. Diabetes is a chronic condition which is becoming more and more prevalent in society yet most people still know very little about this disease.

Did you know that people with Diabetes are more likely to be hospitalised due to foot problems than for any other reason? Diabetes is characterised by increased amounts of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. Blood sugar levels are controlled by insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and Diabetes occurs when your body can’t produce enough insulin or the body can’t effectively use the insulin it produces or both.

Did you know that people with Diabetes are more likely to be hospitalised due to foot problems than for any other reason?

Diabetes can affect your feet in two main ways:

  1. Your sensation in your feet (nerves); it can affect your ability to feel pressure, pain, hot, cold etc
  2. Your blood to your feet (arterial blood circulation); it can also affect your ability to heal any cuts, grazes, burns etc

The nerves in your feet can become damaged from high levels of glucose (sugar) in the surrounding tissues. This causes them to function poorly leading to areas of numbness, pins and needles and/or burning. This is called Peripheral Neuropathy.
The circulation of blood to your feet can also become reduced thus not allowing the correct amount of nutrients and oxygen to your feet. This leads to possible cramping but also decreased wound healing.

In someone with Diabetes, a small break in the skin which may go un-noticed can sometimes become infected and can lead into more serious complications such as wounds/ulcers, gangrene and possible amputation.

If you have Diabetes, there are some small simple steps which can be taken to prevent these complications from arising.

  1. Always protect your feet via the use of closed in shoes – never walk barefoot
  2. Inspect your feet every day. This means on top, bottom and in-between toes.
  3. Always cut and file your nails carefully.
  4. Have corns, callous or any other foot problems attended to by a podiatrist.
  5. See your podiatrist or doctor if a wound or scratch is not healing.
  6. Have your feet tested by a Podiatrist annually to keep track of your sensation and circulation.

An annual diabetes foot assessment should be completed by your podiatrist to ensure you blood flow and nerve function is optimum. If you need to book in your annual diabetes assessment please contact us for an appointment.