Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why Diabetes May Lead to Foot Amuputation

Type 1 or type 2 Diabetes can result in serious physical limitation. Damages to blood vessels in the feet as a result of diabetes mellitus, Juvenile diabetes or any other type of diabetes can often result in a reduction of blood supply to the feet. With an inadequate blood supply to cuts, small sores, abrasions, blisters, or even tears in the skin, healing tends to be much slower than normal, and these openings in the skin may gradually develop into deeper ulcers or wounds even with proper medical interventions.

People with diabetes may also develop what is known as diabetic neuropathy -- a condition that may cause them to eventually lose all the sensation in their feet due to severe nerves damage. If all the sensation is lost in the foot this may further complicates the situation which may eventually lead to foot amputation.

Below are several reasons most people with diabetes have such high rate of foot amputation:

  • People with diabetes should get their feet examined by their health care providers at least once per year to learn whether or not they have nerve or blood vessel damages. Yet, the majority of them don't usually do so.
  • Some of these individuals have been walking around the house bare- footed or in an open pair of slippers, instead of wearing a comfortable pair of close-up shoes. Open shoes makes people with diabetes more susceptible to cuts. With no sensation in the foot, if they should step on sharp objects lying around the house, or scrape their feet against sharp edges they might not be able to feel it. 
  • They might have been trying to get rid of calluses or bunions by pricking or cutting on them, not realizing that diabetic sores heal much slower than the ordinary.
  • There is also the possibility that some diabetics aren't checking their feet and toes daily, although they already knew that they had some nerves or blood damages or current food problems. Most diabetic don't carefully examine the top, sides, soles, heels, and between toes for sores, bruises, cuts, blisters, ulcers. They don't take into consideration that these issues with their skin may be present, but because they have no sensation in their feet, they may not notice it. 
  • Those who are unable to check their own feet due to poor vision or physical limitations, fail to ask family members or caregivers to assist them where necessary. They also do not know that there are special mirrors that they can use to check the sole of their own feet.
  • Many of these individuals have not been using lukewarm water and mild soap(strong soaps may damage their sensitive skin) to gently wash their feet and between toes daily.
  • Because they may have lost sensation in their feet, they aren't able to sense the true temperature of their bath water, and it's possibly that no one had ever advised some of these individuals before, not to place their feet in bath water before testing the temperature with their finger, elbows, or even with thermometer. As a result, they ended up with serious foot burns.
  • Moist areas promotes the growth of fungus and bacteria, which may lead to athletes foot and other serious infections; this may diabetics do not know. As a result, they fail to gently and thoroughly dry their feet, especially between the toes.
  • They do not know that if the feet or in-between toes or too dry, this may cause the skin to crack which may possibly lead to other serious infections, so they have not been applying lotion, petroleum jelly, lanolin, or oil to their feet. At the same token, they do not know that while feet should be greased, between toes shouldn't -- they should remain free from moisture.
  • Many people who have been diagnosed with diabetes do not know that they shouldn't keep long toe nails, because they might tear and cause serious problems. Another important thing they neglect to do is to ask a Podiatrist if it's okay for them to trim the nails or what's the proper or safest way to do this.
  •  Even though they were diagnosed with diabetes, many of these people continue to wear shoes that are either too high, too close(longest toe should be at least 1/2 inch away from tip of shoes) or have inner seams that may cause blisters or calluses
Proper foot care is something that all pre-diabetics as well as all individuals with diabetes mellitus, juvenile diabetes and all other types of diabetes should practice. Because diabetes can cause nerves and blood vessel damages of the feet, people with diabetes are usually more susceptible to developing foot wounds which may eventually lead to foot amputation.

(C)  I. McFarlane 2013