What You Need To Know About Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetic Foot Care Is Key for Living Verses Existing with Diabetes

diabetic foot careDiabetic foot care has never been a more important topic for both patients with diabetes and their caregivers. The numbers are staggering: there are well over 25 million Americans living with this disease - over 8% of the population. Children are presenting with Type 2 diabetes, which was unheard of not that many years ago. What was once thought to be a disorder of older, sedentary and overweight adults has crossed the barrier to the young who are, unfortunately, sedentary and overweight.

Education: the word may sound over-used, but learning about diabetes and foot care and how to prevent damage to your feet is crucial. Diabetics especially need good foot care because without healthy feet there is less physical activity, less circulation, and less ability to maintain a healthy weight. Their quality of life is at risk. Over 60% of diabetics will have some level of neuropathy.

Let's explore the facts and learn to take action against diabetes and learn more about how to achieve optimal diabetic foot care.

The Basics of Diabetes:

Type 1: Our bodies require glucose to carry out many functions. The brain, for example, needs a lot of glucose. Glucose attaches to insulin in order to get to places like the brain. Insulin is produced in the pancreas. Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the pancreas stops producing insulin the way the body requires. All that glucose cannot be transported without insulin. Some is excreted out in urine but a lot of it remains in the bloodstream, unable to be used for energy the body needs. Too much glucose causes many problems.

Type 2: Insulin production is not the problem. The body does not respond properly to insulin; the term is insulin resistance. The cells of muscles, fat, and liver do not take insulin so glucose can't be used correctly.

Foot health can suffer as the result of high glucose levels affecting neurovascular tissue adversely.  That is what causes diabetic neuropathy.

Why Diabetic Foot Care Is Crucial

Because diabetes affects the nerves and blood vessels in the feet, a complete foot care regimen can make the difference between a healthier and happy life and a physically restrictive and depressing condition. Following a simple plan can help avoid such critical medical issues as poor circulation and neuropathy. Untreated, diabetic neuropathy can lead to toe and/or foot amputation. Here are key points to prevent or lessen foot damage from diabetes:

Diabetic Foot Care Instructions

  • Keep blood sugar levels within the desired range. between meals it should be 70-120mg/dL. After meals, under 180, and some say under 140mg/dL. There is a test to measure A1C, which monitors how much glucose is attached to hemoglobin (hemoglobin carries oxygen). Normal A1C is 4-6%; strive for under 7%.

Recommended reading for diabetic foot care education:

[easyazon-link asin="0738215147" locale="us"]Think Like a Pancreas: A Practical Guide to Managing Diabetes with Insulin--Completely Revised and Updated[/easyazon-link] [easyazon-link asin="1884804853" locale="us"]Using Insulin: Everything You Need for Success with Insulin[/easyazon-link]
  •  Examine your feet daily. Look at your bare feet for anything unusual:  red-colored spots, cuts, inflammation and blisters.[easyazon-link asin="B001J6VAV2" locale="us"]Telescoping Self-Examination Mirror[/easyazon-link]
  • Be more active! If you are completely at a loss how to start, just begin with a short walk. Take a look at this: Suzanne Andrews is an Occupational Therapist Practitioner with her own show on Public Television. Her exercise program does not require a lot of equipment, plus it is geared to help normalize blood sugar while boosting circulation. It is geared especially for diabetics. [easyazon-link asin="B005IWG568" locale="us"]Functional Fitness: Stop Diabetes Now Workout with Suzanne Andrews[/easyazon-link]
  • Clean your feet regularly. Dry them thoroughly and gently. Take this time to also inspect your feet, or as a caregiver, to thoroughly examine the feet.
  • Diabetics' feet tend to be dry and benefit from diabetic foot cream. Keep your feet moisturized and smooth. Put skin lotion on your feet, being sure to let the feet dry thoroughly before putting on socks.
  • Cut your toenails carefully, straight across, and file the edges with an emery board or nail file until smooth.
  • Wear shoes and socks all the time. [easyazon-link asin="B001EVMRCI" locale="us"]Diabetic socks help.[/easyazon-link]Don't walk without footwear.
  • You may want to investigate custom made foot orthotics for comfort and pain relief.