It is estimated that 2,000,000 Canadians are affected by diabetes and many more are not even aware of it. This disease requires proper management to prevent serious problems. Not taking care of blood sugar levels can lead to impaired circulation and peripheral neuropathy (loss of feeling to the feet). Over many years, this can lead to decreased healing time, ulceration and sometimes amputation.
Diabetes can cause many changes within your body. The main effect to the feet and lower legs is diabetic peripheral neuropathy which often includes symptoms such as pain, burning, tingling, pins and needles and even complete numbness. It is estimated that over 50% of diabetics have some form of peripheral neuropathy but many do not have any symptoms. Poor glucose levels will affect the onset and severity of neuropathy, which ultimately will make walking difficult as it will affect balance. Sleeping is often an issue for diabetics as tingling may keep them awake.
It is important to maintain a proper glucose level as this will allow your body to function more efficiently and will decrease the chance of your developing problems throughout your entire body. Your eyes, cardiovascular system, kidneys and feet will all benefit from proper glucose control.
Diabetics should inspect their feet daily. An annual Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam should also be completed. At Clarke Ventresca Foot & Orthotic Centres we will help to determine your risk level and will guide you with the future management of your foot care. A diabetic that is well controlled with no symptoms of nerve damage or diminished circulation is considered low risk.
The next risk level is moderate, where there are some early nerve and circulation concerns thus increasing the risk of infection and complications. At this level it is recommended that diabetics should have a Diabetic Foot Check every 4-6 months. Foot care should also be performed every 6-8 weeks to minimize the chance of any foot problems.
High risk is if you have considerable loss of feeling or no feeling in your feet. You may have already experienced a foot or lower leg ulcer and your circulation is usually poor. High risk diabetic foot care should be performed by a Chiropodist every 4-6 weeks in order to minimize the chance of infection, ulceration or other foot problems.
Below is a list of things that may be checked in your feet during your Diabetic Foot Exam at Clarke Ventresca Foot & Orthotic Centres:
- Pulses in your feet
- Capillary refill time
- Absence of hair growth
- Light touch sensation (using a small monofilament)
- Footwear and inserts or orthotics
- Type of socks you wear
If you or someone you care about have diabetes and are concerned about their foot health, call our clinics today.
For more information on Diabetes – please see the Canadian Diabetes Association