What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a serious life-long health condition that occurs when the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body can’t use it properly. If left untreated, high blood glucose levels can cause serious health complications.
There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. They are each completely different conditions, but they are both serious issues which require treatment and medical management.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that plays a very important role in our bodies. After we eat, we begin to digest carbohydrates, breaking them down into glucose.
The insulin released by the pancreas moves glucose into our cells, where it is used as fuel for energy. It may help to understand that insulin is often described as a key, which open the doors to the cells, allowing glucose to enter.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells, meaning no insulin is produced. This causes glucose to quickly rise in the blood.
Nobody knows exactly why this happens, but science tells us it’s got nothing to do with diet or lifestyle.
About 10 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 1.
Type 2 diabetes
In Type 2 diabetes, the body doesn’t make enough insulin, or the insulin it makes doesn’t work properly, meaning glucose builds up in the blood.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. Up to 58 per cent of Type 2 diabetes cases can be delayed or prevented through a healthy lifestyle.
About 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2.
How does diabetes effect your feet?
- Reduction in sensation to the feet
- Poor circulation
- Increased risk of infection
- Poor healing
- Ulcerations (non healing wound )
- Amputation risk
Diabetes can cause damage to your blood vessels in particular the micro (small) blood vessels that supply the skin and to the nerves that are associated with sensation. Poor sensation and circulation to the feet can have a serious impact on an individual’s foot health causing ulcerations to occur. Ulcerations of the foot are a serious matter causing a potential for serious infection and tissue death all leading to the possible amputation of the effected area. If you notice any signs of foot ulceration, blistering, redness, heat or inflammation, you must see a Podiatrist or Urgent care immediately.
A few key facts from our podiatry team to help you manage your feet and prevent the affects of diabetes on your feet:
- Maintain a good control of your diabetic blood glucose levels (sugar levels)
- Check your feet daily
- Apply an emollient such as CCS cream on your feet daily, but not between the toes.
- Wear sensible supportive shoes
- Cut your nails straight across
- Have your feet assessed every year with your Podiatrist or Diabetic nurse.
How can South West Podiatry help?
The Podiatry team at South West Podiatry are specialised in managing the diabetic foot. We provide thorough diabetic foot check using specialized equipment to monitor your foot health. At each clinical site there is also a pressure plate that can scan your foot to determine “at risk” areas of your feet to aid prevention of foot ulcerations and infections. With this information your highly trained Podiatrist can produce an orthotic device which will offload areas of peak pressure and reduce “at risk” areas of your foot.
The Podiatrists can also manage any acute symptoms and provide a thorough up to date clinical management plan for the diabetic foot.