What is diabetes?
Diabetes is characterized by uncontrolled raising and falling of blood sugar levels. This is due to a lack of secretion or lack of sensitivity of the hormone that controls blood sugar levels (Insulin).
Types of Diabetes
There are two major types of diabetes;
- Insulin dependant diabetes melitis (IDDM) also called type 1.
- Non-insulin dependant diabetes melitis (NIDDM) also called type 2.
There is no such thing as “mild diabetes” only “well controlled diabetes” which involves regular checkups, self monitoring, exercise and a well planned diet.
What Causes Diabetes?
The body uses sugar from foods for energy. For this energy to enter the body’s cells where it can be used requires a key. Insulin is this key that allows sugars to move form the blood into the cells.
If insufficient or ineffective insulin is produced and the doors into the cells are not unlocked your blood sugar levels will rise (diabetes). This irregular rise in blood sugar level can be controlled by either;
- Injecting insulin (IDDM)
- Diet & exercise / Tablets (NIDDM)
Why Are Blood Sugar Levels Important?
When blood sugar levels are too low (<3mmol/l) the function of the brain in inhibited, which can cause fainting. When blood sugar levels are high (>8mmol/l) the sugar is toxic to bodily organs such as nerves, eyes, kidneys and arteries.
Tests For Blood Sugar Levels
You can monitor your blood glucose levels at home with a blood glucose meter.
Your doctor can order a test called a HbA1c which gives an indication of your blood sugar levels for the previous 3 months.
What Does Diabetes Have To Do With My Feet?
When high blood sugar affects nerves and blood vessels they lose their ability to function. This leaves the person with nerve and blood vessel damage at a higher risk of foot trauma (they can’t feel it) and with a reduced capacity to deal with the foot trauma(the blood vessels can’t get blood to the area).
The statistics speak for themselves. Foot problems are 2 times morel likely in people with diabetes. 50% of all cases of gangrene are seen in people with diabetes.
How Can I Prevent foot Problems?
- Wash and dry feet daily.
- Use Moisturizer on dry skin 1-2 times daily. Cream with 10% urea is usually the best.
- Trim your toe nails straight across.
- Inspect your feet daily for injury or change. Use a mirror if you have trouble getting down. Have a podiatrist treat your corns and callus.
- Check shoes every time you put them on for sharp edges or foreign bodies
- Wear footwear whenever you are out of bed.
If you need any help with managing your foot problems, wade our Podiatrist is available for appointments on 5504 7000.