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Simple Foot Care Critical for People With Diabetes

Image: Simple Foot Care Critical for People With Diabetes
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Friday, 17 Nov 2017 12:09 PM

One of the challenging complications of diabetes is blood vessel damage from high blood sugar that can lead to poor blood circulation in the legs and feet.

When the feet are deprived of oxygen-rich blood, a condition called diabetic foot can develop, causing foot ulcers that heal very slowly, or not at all.

As the disease progresses it can lead to gangrene and even amputation.

“Around 80 percent of diabetes-related lower extremity amputations start out as a foot ulcer,” says vascular surgeon Dr. Anil P. Hingorani. Vascular surgeons typically have many patients with diabetes, who need specialized vascular care to keep their feet healthy. For these patients, it is extremely important to pay attention to foot health, and to never ignore an open sore on the foot.

Diabetes patients with lower extremity wounds should be evaluated by a podiatrist, physician or an advanced health practitioner, says Hingorani.

If foot ulcers develop and don’t heal, it may be a sign that the legs and feet are not getting enough oxygen-rich blood due to narrowed, hardened arteries that are made worse by diabetes. At that point, patients should see a vascular surgeon who can evaluate the patient’s vascular health as well as the foot ulcer.

Meanwhile, here are a few simple steps to prevent diabetic foot disease:

See the doctor regularly. Patients with diabetes should see a doctor or a clinician who is trained in foot care once a year or more often, depending on their level of risk for foot problems. If you have had previous foot sores, an amputation or diabetes-related eye problems, you may need to see someone more often.

Learn to take care of your feet. Patients with diabetes should be educated about how to take care of their feet. You need to know how to check your feet for sores or cuts, the best ways to keep feet clean and dry.

Wear the right shoes. Diabetes patients do not need to buy therapeutic shoes if they have an average risk of diabetic foot, but special shoes are important for high-risk patients. During your foot checkups, ask if you need special shoes.

Avoid preventative surgery. Newer research recommends against getting a preventative stent or surgical revascularization of your leg arteries if you don’t have diabetic foot or other symptoms associated with peripheral artery disease.

Stay updated on best treatments. If you get a plantar foot ulcer, the best practice is to not walk on the ulcer. Your physician may prescribe a total contact cast or a fixed-ankle walking boot. This has not always been the standard treatment, but has recently been changed.

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One complication of diabetes is blood vessel damage from high blood sugar that can lead to poor blood circulation in the legs and feet.
diabetes, foot, care
Friday, 17 Nov 2017 12:09 PM
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