Diabetes occurs when the body’s metabolism has a poor ability to metabolise glucose.
The body fails to secrete a hormone called insulin. Insulin is usually secreted into the blood stream to regulate the burning and storing of sugar.
There are two different type’s:
Type 1 Diabetes:
Is where the immune system destroys cells that produce insulin. Known as Insulin dependant diabetes, it is a severe form and on set is often sudden. It usually occurs in childhood but can affect adults. Insulin injections will be needed for the rest of the person life.
Type 2 Diabetes:
The body doesn’t produce enough insulin, onset is slow, and many people only find out due to routine urine test. Early detection can usually be managed by diet and exercise, eventually tablets could be needed.
Let’s focus on how diabetes can affect the feet. Diabetes causes 2 main symptoms that concern the feet:
Peripheral neuropathy which causes a lack of sensation to the extremities due to damage to the nerves. This means a diabetic might not be able to feel pain indicating a problem or infection on the foot.
Poor circulation can cause swelling, brittle or weakened nails. It also affects the healing process, making the foot slow to heal and fight infections.
It is important that a diabetic foot is checked regularly, checking the sole, between the toes and all around. Regularly cleansing, correct cutting and moisturising is essential. Avoid hot water/ water bottles, due to the loss of sensation in some patients, this may mean that you cannot feel the correct temperature and it may cause burns.