National Diabetes Week kicks off again in July this year, raising awareness on the prevention and management of diabetes. At Pro Feet Podiatry we are passionate about managing diabetes and reducing diabetes-related foot complications, that’s why we thought we’d start the conversation a little earlier this year!
So, what is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a complex condition where the body is unable to maintain healthy levels of glucose in the blood. Glucose is a form of sugar, which your body collects from food and converts into energy. Your body relies on a hormone called insulin to regulate your blood glucose levels.
People with diabetes either do not produce enough insulin, or they become desensitised to it and therefore they cannot effectively regulate their glucose levels. The glucose remains in the bloodstream creating high blood glucose levels. High levels of blood glucose lead to both short term and long term complications, which affect the entire body.
Complications relating directly to the foot include a loss of sensation or a feeling of numbness, skin changes, reduced blood flow and an increased risk of amputation.
There are three main types of diabetes, type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes.
When should I see my Podiatrist?
Regular visits to your podiatrist are recommended. A full diabetes assessment will be conducted every 6 or 12 months depending on your diabetes health.
This annual assessment will review your:
- Nerve function
- Blood supply
- Skin and nail condition
- Blood glucose levels
In conjunction with your annual diabetes assessment, we also recommend regular podiatry appointments every 8-10 weeks. This is to maintain general skin and nail care, which reduces the likelihood of developing diabetes-associated complications.
How to reduce diabetic foot complications!
There is currently no cure for diabetes, however, when well controlled, complications are reduced. Here is a list of things you can do at home to reduce the likelihood of developing diabetic-related foot complications:
- Regularly monitor blood glucose levels. Aiming for readings of between 4-8mmol/L before meals.
- Regular exercise. This can promote insulin to work more efficiently, lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Eating well will assist with maintaining ideal blood glucose readings.
- Daily foot checks. Look for any changes to the skin, including cuts, bruises and dryness. If you can’t see the underside of your foot, place a mirror on the floor!
- Moisturise your feet daily. This will improve skin integrity and reduce the formation of cracks in the skin.
- Spending less time barefoot. Diabetes can alter a person’s sensation in their feet, that’s why it’s important to protect them at all times! This will reduce the likelihood of developing any cuts, scratches or wounds forming on your feet.
If you have any specific questions, please feel free to email me on the address below or make an appointment with myself or any of our team members on 1300 937 573.
Pro Feet Podiatry