DIABETES AND HOW IT AFFECTS MY BODY
Diabetes causes your blood sugar levels to be higher than normal. Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels and nerves in your body. Damage to your nerves means that you may have burning pain or lose feeling in a part of your body (this is called diabetic neuropathy) Damage to the blood vessels means that your feet may not be getting a good supply of blood.
Loss of sensation in the foot, diabetic neuropathy, is responsible for 15% of all patients with Diabetes having an ulcer, or hole, in the foot. Twenty four (24) % of those individuals will undergo an amputation. Of those, 50% will go on to experience another amputation. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, and the United States is ranked number two in the world for the most amputations. To better protect the feet, we offer Diabetic shoes to all patients. In most cases, Medicare covers one pair of shoes and three insoles per year for patients with Diabetes. Ask your doctor for more information and to see if you qualify.
WHY DO I HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT MY FEET?
People with Diabetes often have trouble with their feet. Part of the problem is that the loss of feeling in your feet makes it hard for you to tell if you have a blister or sore. If little sores are not taken care of, they can get worse and turn into ulcers (serious, deep sores). If these ulcers become infected, you may have to go to the hospital or, in very serious cases, you could be at risk for having a foot amputated. This handout will give you some tips on how to care for your feet.vers to treat, and you may get very ill.
HOW CAN I AVOID PROBLEMS WITH MY FEET?
Keep your blood sugar level as close to normal as possible. Also, follow your doctor’s advice on diet, exercise and medicine.
OTHER WAYS TO PROTECT FEET:
- Wash and dry feet every day with lukewarm (not hot) water and mild soap.
- Dry your feet well, especially between toes. Use a soft towel and pat gently; don’t rub.
- Keep your feet dry by dusting them with non-medicated powder before putting on socks, stockings or shoes.
- Check your feet every day. You may need a mirror to look at the bottoms of your feet. Call your doctor at the very first sign of redness, swelling, pain that doesn’t go away or numbness or tingling in any part of your foot.
- Don’t treat calluses, corns or bunions without talking to your doctor first.
- Don’t let your feet get too hot or too cold.
- Don’t go barefoot,
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN CHOOSING SHOES AND SOCKS?
- Don’t wear shoes without socks.
- Wear well-padded socks or stockings that are ½ inch longer than your longest toe.
- Don’t wear uncomfortable or tight shoes that rub or cut your into your feet. If you’ve had problems before because of shoes that didn’t fit, you may want to be fitted for a custom-molded shoe.
- Talk to your doctor before you buy special shoes or inserts.
- Shop for new shoes at the end of the day when your feet are a little swollen.
- Break in new shoes slowly by wearing them for no more than an hour a day for several days.
- Change socks and shoes every day. Have at least 2 pairs of shoes so you can switch pairs every other day.
- Look inside your shoes every day for things like gravel or torn linings. These things could rub against your feet and cause blisters or sores.
HOW OFTEN WILL MY DOCTOR CHECK MY FEET?
Your doctor or nurse should check your feet periodically when you go in for a visit. If you are having any problems, such as loss of feeling, sores or ingrown toenails, tell your doctor right away. Every Diabetic patient should see their foot doctor, Podiatrist, at a minimum of once per year.
American Diabetes Association, 800-342-2382 http://www.diabetes.org