Diabetes is a common disease wherein the body produces high blood glucose. The glucose (sugar) in the blood and lack of insulin can cause complications, damaging the nervous system. A damaged nervous system can be very threatening, as a loss of sensation or numbness can lead to the diabetic patient not noticing injuries or wounds. As a result, the proper attention and treatment needed may not be given to the injury, thus allowing the injury to worsen. Often the loss of sensation will come in a lower extremity like the foot , which makes it even more difficult to monitor. The phrase diabetic foot is a general term used to describe foot problems with diabetic patients. However, there are two main complications which are neuropathy and peripheral vascular diseases.
What is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is described as a lack of sensation to the foot or numbness. Patients also complain of a burning or tingling in the legs and this is usually due to nerve damage. One of the reasons this can be dangerous is because the patient may suffer a wound and be unaware, thus increasing the chance of it becoming infected; an infection can lead to other severe complications and put the patient’s life at risk.
Peripheral Vascular Diseases
Peripheral Vascular Diseases affect the blood vessels and alters the blood flow. This is significant because wounds that would generally heal without complication, may take longer to heal, or not heal at all, due to the lack of blood circulation. Furthermore, peripheral vascular disease affects the blood vessels that are away from the heart, the feet are at risk due to its distance away from the heart and lack of blood flow.
Treating diabetic foot is often about treating the diabetes as a whole. A physician may recommend dietary changes and medication to help maintain good health. Exercise is also an important component to maintaining a healthy body and active lifestyle.
It’s important that a diabetic patient regularly visit with their physician for examinations and frequently examine their body for potential unknown injuries.
Find a physician near you
Diabetic foot can be very serious due to the possibility of infection and other complications, but it doesn’t have to be. The physicians at IBJI can help you to manage your diabetes and maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you are a diabetic patient and you need to see a physician, find an orthopedic doctor near you.
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