Patients have diabetes when their blood sugar levels are very high. Over a period of time it can lead to the nerves or the blood vessels being damaged.
Should nerve damage occur the patient will lose any feeling in the skin, muscles, and bone of the feet and will be unable to realize that he has sores, or cuts, or blisters. As a result, ulcers and infection develop, which, in severe cases, if left untreated, can lead to amputation.
In addition, damaged blood vessels mean that feet do not receive enough oxygen or blood so the foot takes longer to heal.Diabetic patients need to take foot hygiene very seriously. Drying and cracking of the skin of the feet is common because the sweat nerves no longer work. Calluses can build up and if not treated regularly they can lead to infectious sores. Some patients are more at risk if they are over sixty and don’t have a proper control over their diabetes.
Kidney diseases and vascular diseases as well as foot ulcers lead to foot infection. Bacterial infection develops through the dry skin or through corns, blisters, or ulcers. If it is not attended to immediately it can spread through the body attacking skin, tissue, and bone. You must also take care of wounds that have punctured the skin.
You can consult a podiatrist or your own physician, who will advise that you have a foot x-ray taken to determine if there is a bone infection. You may also be asked to give a sample of the wound for culture to spot the bacterial organism causing the infection.
The correct medication, usually antibiotics, can then be prescribed. The physician will surgically remove any dead or scarred tissue. You will need to wear a cast or special shoes to protect the affected area and, more importantly, rest your feet.
You must continue to keep your diabetes under control and see to it that your blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure, are not very high. Stop smoking and include exercise as part of your daily regimen. Look after your feet, checking them for ulcers, wounds, calluses, and inflamed skin, and use Vaseline or a cream to prevent the dry skin from cracking.
Don’t try any alternative treatments for your condition without consulting your doctor. With the right care and precautions a diabetic foot can be managed. But if you are careless the infection can lead to gangrene, severe illness and amputation, and, spreading throughout the body, maybe even cause death. Manage your diabetes and take care of yourself to avoid diabetes foot.