Diabetes is one of the most common lifestyle disorders affecting about 26 million people worldwide every year. Inactivity and unhealthy eating habits are some common causes of diabetes, in addition to the few rare cases of heredity.
Poorly controlled blood sugar levels for prolonged periods can lead to other issues in the body like neuropathy and diabetic foot ulcers. Most patients above the age of 45 are prone to diabetes-related complications like chronic wounds.
What should you know to prevent complications of uncontrolled diabetes?
1 in 100 people with diabetes are prone to foot ulcers
Diabetic foot ulcers are chronic, non-healing wounds that occur mostly due to poorly maintained blood sugar levels.
Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to different parts of the body for the nourishment of tissues and organs. In people suffering from diabetes, high sugar levels damage the blood vessels causing a poor supply of oxygen. The worst affected parts are those that lie on the extreme edges of the body, like the hands and feet.
When this happens, even minor cuts, bruises, and wounds take a very long time to heal. This can lead to gangrene and necrosis (death of tissue) which require amputation of the limb. Diabetic foot ulcers can also be caused when a small wound catches infection from microbes and becomes complicated.
The feet are most prone to ulcers because they are points of high-pressure sensations.
How can you take care of diabetic foot ulcers?
Most doctors recommend a combined, multi-specialty treatment plan to effectively treat diabetic foot pain and ulcers. This involves consultation with a team consisting of a primary care physician, endocrinologist, podiatrist, and vascular surgeon.
If you are having diabetes, then it is very important to take care of even minor wounds and injuries to the limbs. Keep the feet clean and check-up with a specialist regularly. Diabetic foot ulcers are preventable, and curable if detected early, through the control of sugar and lipid content in the blood.
70% of people with diabetes experience neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy is related to the loss in the ability of sensation due to damage to the nerves. Neuropathy can lead to pain, diabetic foot ulcers, and even limb amputation.
Damage to the nerves on the hands and feet can cause cuts and wounds to go undetected, which may later become chronic. Neuropathy can also have other negative effects like frequent falls and the inability to do basic actions like wriggling the fingers and toes.
Numbness, tingling or burning sensation in the feet and deep aches are all signs of diabetic neuropathy. Toes and fingers often remain colder than the rest of the body because of the low blood supply.
How can you take care of diabetic neuropathy?
The best way to present damage is through a pain management treatment plan for diabetic neuropathy. Taking care of the feet is crucial to prevent unwarranted chronic diabetic wounds.
Medication and treatment for diabetic neuropathy are only supportive and do not cure the condition completely.
Prevention and support in the form of a healthy diet that aids wound healing, and exercise can go a long way in providing relief from pain. Regular check-ups at a wound care clinic also goes a long way in preventing damage to nerves.
Diabetes accounts for 60% of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations
Diabetic neuropathy can lead to limb amputation. The combined effect of diabetic neuropathy and damage to blood vessels increases the chances of occurrence of non-healing, chronic wounds on the limbs.
Limb amputation is done when the diabetic wound turns gangrenous. In this condition, the tissue in and around the wound site is medically dead due to infection of germs or lack of supply of nutrients and oxygen. Gangrene mostly affects the feet.
Symptoms of gangrene include a change in the normal color of the skin, discharge, and pain. Limb amputation is usually the final remedy for chronic diabetic foot ulcers. Post-surgical treatment like motor therapy is usually needed to help the patient cope with the loss of the limb.
How can you prevent limb amputation?
Taking care of chronic, heavily exudating wounds both at home and wound care clinics can help detect and prevent negative effects on overall health.
Corrections to an unhealthy lifestyle can go a long way in keeping blood sugar under control. Regular exercise burns calories and aids the circulation of blood in the body. If you have diabetes, then it is advisable to consult a wound specialist to help you deal with or prevent diabetic foot ulcers.
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