Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetic Foot CareDiabetes Mellitus (DM) is a chronic metabolic disease which is characterized by high blood sugar levels brought about by the absence of insulin or insufficient production of insulin by the body. Insulin is a hormone that is responsible in controlling blood sugar levels in our body. Early symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus are Polydipsia (excessive thirst), Polyphagia (excessive hunger) and Polyuria (frequent urination). In its later stage, diabetes can cause kidney failure, blindness, hardening and narrowing of arteries which can lead to Stroke and Myocardial Infarction. It can also result to poor sensation (Neuropathy) and poor wound healing leading to limb amputation.

What is Diabetic foot?

Diabetic foot is one of the most common complications of Diabetes Mellitus. A diabetic foot can be caused by different DM symptoms.

One cause could be the breakdown of a callus. Diabetics often develop calluses which can crack or breakdown and eventually develop into an ulcer.

Infection can be another reason. Diabetics usually have a poor blood circulation, their body’s ability to combat infection is impaired. Small bacterial infection in between toes can worsen and get uncontrolled making the area of affectation bigger and bigger.

Neuropathy or nerve damage is commonly blamed for accidental cuts and wounds incurred by lack of sensation on the foot. As Diabetics’ nervous system, specifically the sensory nerves get damaged by the disease process, the body’s defense mechanism of withdrawal due to pain, heat or pressure is dulled. Thus, when a Diabetic steps into a hot or sharp object, he can’t immediately feel the pain making the injury severe.

All of the above mentioned causes can lead to foot gangrene and amputation.

How to Take Care of Your Diabetic Foot

Shoes and Slippers: Make sure that you wear proper Diabetic shoes and slippers. Walking barefoot is a No-No! In general, choosing the right footwear is important to foot health as poor fitting shoes is a common cause of foot injuries especially in diabetics. Choose your shoes made of breathable material and mesh vents to keep the feet dry preventing bacteria which usually thrive on wet areas.

Diabetic SocksPair your shoes with Smartknit Seamless Diabetic Socks . These types of socks are specially designed for diabetics and those conditions where protection from irritation is imperative. They are free of seams and fit like a second skin. Smartknit socks feature 6-150 times less seam protrusion than other popular diabetic socks brand. This feature prevents poor circulation and blister caused by too much tightness on the seams. These socks are also made of moisture-wicking fibers which keeps the feet dry thus preventing bacterial growth.

Regular Feet Inspection: Make it a habit to check your feet regularly for blisters, callus, cuts or developing fungal or bacterial infection. Use a mirror to be able to see all angles especially the soles and in between the toes.

Wash Feet Regulary: It is important to wash your feet everyday. You can use mild soap and water. See to it that you don’t soak your feet too long and make sure that the water temperature is not too hot to cause burn. You can carefully file down calluses using an emery board after washing.

Foot and Nail Care: After washing and filing your feet, you can apply lotion just enough to keep it soft. Wipe away excess moisture as not to create a medium for bacterial/fungal growth. Trim your nails as necessary using a safety clipper. Cut them straight across. Do not cut your nails too short or too near the nail bed.

Control Diabetes: Observing a healthy diabetic diet, proper exercise, monitoring your sugar, being religious with your medications and regular clinic check up is a good way of keeping you in shape and away from complications. Give up smoking and live a healthy lifestyle.

Having been diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus doesn't always mean that you have to go through the pain of having a diabetic foot. Just knowing the right information and putting them into practice will protect you from this debilitating complication. But let me just emphasize that whether you have DM or none, you have to take care of your feet still, because those feet can take you to places you desire to see.