Diabetes is a condition in which excessively high glucose levels in the blood can jeopardize the health of the nerves, eyes, kidneys and blood vessels. One of the potential effects of diabetes is a weakened immune system rendering the body unable to effectively fight off infections. Additionally, the disease often leads to serious problems with the feet.
One common way that diabetics encounter foot problems is due to neuropathy(nerve damage). Impaired nerves lead to an inability of the patient to feel pain in the feet. Minor injuries such as stepping on a splinter may go unnoticed and lead to a serious infection.
Due to the suppression of the immune response in diabetics, the body is often unable to heal these wounds. If left untreated bacterial infections can spread throughout the body/bloodstream requiring hospitalization.
Poor circulation may lead to gangrene/death of tissue necessitating amputation if left untreated.
If you suffer from diabetes, it is critical that you ensure foot health by performing daily foot inspections. Things to watch out for are sores/wounds, areas of redness, warmth, swelling and/or pain. If you notice any problems you should call for an appointment. If you have red streaks spreading from the foot or toes up the ankle or leg you need to seek medical attention immediately by going to your nearest hospital emergency room if you cannot get an appointment right away. Catching problems early often prevents serious complications.