Attentive Foor Care and Type 2 Diabetes

High blood glucose from Type 2 Diabetes can cause problems for your feet in two different ways.

If you have Type 2 Diabetes, one way your feet become problems is through nerve damage in your legs and feet. With damaged nerves, you may not feel pain, heat or cold in your legs and feet. A sore or cut on your foot may get worse because you have no idea it’s there. This lack of feeling is cause by diabetic neuropathy or nerve damage. The problem is nerve damage can lead to a sore or an infection.

The second problem when you have Type 2 Diabetes is poor blood flow to your legs and feet. Poor blood flow makes it hard for a sore or infection to heal especially on the leg or foot.  Also called peripheral vascular disease, PVD, smoking makes blood flow even worse when you have Type 2 Diabetes.

Sometimes these two problems work together to cause a serious foot problems let’s say you get a blister from a pair of new shoes. You don’t feel the pain from the blister because you have nerve damage in your foot. As a result the blister becomes infected.

If your blood glucose is high, the extra glucose feeds the germs. The germs grow because the glucose feeds the infection and the infection gets worse. Here too poor blood flow to your legs and feet tends to slow down healing.

If a person has gangrene from the infection, the skin and tissue around the sore die. The area becomes black and smelly. To keep the gangrene from spreading, a doctor may have to do surgery such as cutting off a toe or part of a leg in an amputation.

People with Type 2 Diabetes, like so many others, can also have a problem with athlete’s foot. However because the perspiration of the diabetic person is more sweet from the increased sugar in the blood, it makes a very comfortable place for the fungus to stay.

Symptoms appear quickly and can include flaking and peeling of skin between the toes, intense itching, heat, redness, cracking, dryness and sometimes the appearance of blisters if the disease isn’t treated. When the blisters break, they allow the fungus to enter below the skin’s surface making it even more difficult to treat.

Treatment is sometimes difficult because topical treatments don’t penetrate deeply enough to reach the blood stream. Oral medications can also have a tough time. All treatments for athlete’s foot should be taken or applied continuously over a period of several weeks to several months until the condition remedies itself.

Treating the foot ailments of someone with diabetes 2 is usually best left to a foot specialist.  Too many things can go wrong if home treatment is tried.

On the other hand, using a good moisturizer on the feet daily to keep away and corns and calluses smooth and soft and head off any potential infection from dry skin is always a good idea.

 

Ruthan Brodsky

Health Writer (member American Medical Writers Assoc.)

Resources: American Podiatric Association

American Diabetes Association

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