Although diabetes has become the most commonly diagnosed health condition over the last few years, many people don’t know the possible symptoms of the disease. Knowing which health conditions could indicate diabetes might allow a person to be diagnosed much earlier and minimize risk and long-term effects. Therefore, every person must understand all the possible symptoms related to diabetes. Well Heeled takes a closer look at this topic.
So – Are foot problems always a sign of diabetes?
Since diabetes can cause circulation issues in the lower legs and feet, foot problems can often be linked to diabetes. There are two possible ways that diabetes can affect the feet. These are:
● Peripheral vascular disease
Unfortunately, unstable glucose levels can affect the blood flow in the body, leading to insufficient circulation in the feet and lower legs. As a result, cuts or sores will take much longer to heal. If someone has inadequate blood flow in the legs and arms, it could be caused by a condition known as peripheral vascular disease. The issue with slow-healing cuts or sores is that they increase the chances of gangrene or ulcers developing in the feet or lower legs.
Several symptoms could indicate that someone has peripheral vascular disease, including:
- Struggling with impotence
- Experiencing hair loss on the arms and legs
- Noticing a change in colour of the leg or foot
- Dealing with sores or cuts that do not heal
- Experiencing a dull or burning sensation in the toes or feet while sleeping or resting
- Feeling weak or numb in the legs
- Suffering from pain in the buttocks and lower back
These symptoms should not be ignored because they could indicate that a person has peripheral vascular disease. Since this condition is regularly associated with diabetes, it is normal for a doctor to test for diabetes if a peripheral vascular disease diagnosis has been made.
● Diabetic neuropathy
If diabetes goes unnoticed or untreated, it can lead to nerve damage in the lower legs and feet. When there is a lack of sensation in the feet or lower legs, this condition is called diabetic neuropathy. It can be very detrimental to overall health since it makes it hard to tell if there has been any injury to the legs or feet. As a result, a cut or sore could go unnoticed. Later, it could come infected and, in extreme cases, lead to amputation.
Fortunately, seven symptoms could indicate that a person has diabetic neuropathy and, as a result, diabetes. These symptoms should never be ignored. The symptoms of diabetic neuropathy are:
- Experiencing numbness or a tingling sensation in the feet and lower legs
- Suffering from sharp, shooting pains
- Struggling with coordination because of weakening muscles in the feet and legs
- Noticing a change in the shape of the foot or toes
- Unexplained sores, blisters, or cuts on the foot or lower leg
- Experiencing heat and cold sensations in the feet and legs
- Suffering from painful feet or legs while trying to rest at night
Since diabetic neuropathy can be detrimental to health, these symptoms must never be overlooked. Instead, see your podiatrist if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Since diabetic neuropathy is related to diabetes, it is normal for a doctor to test for diabetes if someone has been diagnosed with diabetic neuropathy.
Are there any other foot problems that could indicate diabetes?
Several foot problems can indicate that a person might have diabetes. For example, if someone is struggling with sensation in the foot or experiences prolonged healing, it is advised that a test for diabetes is done. In fact, if anyone feels that there has been a remarkable decline in their foot health that can’t be explained, a diabetes test is advised.
How can someone with diabetes minimize its effect on the feet?
Since diabetes significantly affects circulation, people with diabetes should take great care of their feet. If their feet are neglected, sores or infections could go unnoticed, leading to severe complications.
Here are a few tips for good foot health for those with diabetes:
● Check your feet daily for any signs of athlete’s foot
Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus causing the foot to become itchy, red, and swollen. If the fungus is left untreated, it could cause an infection that could lead to severe complications.
● Examine your toes every night for signs of fungal infections
Although fungal infections under the toenails are not regarded as being life-threatening, they can cause toenails to crack or rise. If this goes unnoticed, the toe can become infected.
● Be on the lookout for calluses
Calluses happen when there is a hard build-up of skin under the foot. Although they are common and not dangerous, they can lead to complications like infection if left untreated. It is important to note that a callus should never be removed with a sharp object. It is better to see your podiatrist for proper treatment.
● Examine your feet for any signs of ulcers, infections, or blisters
By checking your feet carefully every night, you minimize the risk of complications. However, if you find that you do have an ulcer, infection, or blister on your foot or lower leg, it is best to see your podiatrist for proper treatment.
● Keep your feet clean
It is a good habit for everyone to keep their feet clean, but for people with diabetes, it is a necessity. By washing your feet daily, you decrease the risk of infection. Make sure to dry your feet properly after washing, and apply lotion so that your skin doesn’t become too dry.
● Check your feet daily for any change in shape or colour
When someone with diabetes notices that their feet have changed colour or shape, it is a cause of concern. In this case, a podiatrist must be seen immediately.
As we walk through life, we hope for good health. Unfortunately, not all of us are blessed with exceptional health. Our bodies can give us a good idea about our general health, including our feet. Keep an eye on your feet and lower legs, and be sure to contact your podiatrist if you experience any complications with your feet or lower legs.
Disclaimer and Important Note from Well Heeled
The information contained in all our blog posts, messages and information on all platforms is not to be used as diagnosis material or as professional advice. We love writing our posts and information but you should always seek proper professional advice if you experience any negative health and well being problems. We try to keep our information as accurate as possible but we do not intend to take the place of official, professional advice and information that you can find from you appropriate GP, medial services and other professional bodies that can give appropriate medical guidance and support.
Here are some great external links for you too seek that proper and appropriate foot, diabetes and health care guidance and support:
Mental Health Advice, Information and Support
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