When you have diabetes, you will have health concerns unique to your condition. You'll have to test your blood sugar regularly so you can manage it with diet and insulin, but your glucose levels aren't the only thing you need to be aware of. Diabetes can damage various parts of your body, including your organs and circulatory system. Reduced circulation means that your extremities may not get as much blood as they need to function properly. This can lead to nerve damage and even necrosis if it isn't managed. Here are four things you can do to protect your foot heath as a diabetic:
1. Examine your own feet regularly.
You can check your own feet for signs of trouble. If you get a cut or bruise on your foot, make sure it heals in a timely manner. Reduced blood flow means that your feet may not recover from injury as quickly as a non-diabetic person's feet. Monitor your cuts closely. If a cut hasn't healed by the time a month has passed, you should see a podiatrist. You should also be on the lookout for swelling and discolored skin, since these can also be signs of trouble.
2. See your doctor if you experience unusual symptoms.
Pain in your feet can be a sign of diabetic neuropathy. However, this condition isn't always painful. In some cases, you may experience numbness in one or both feet. This is caused by poor circulation and insufficient blood flow. Left unchecked, this condition may lead to amputation. Tingling is another symptom that should be addressed. If you experience any of these symptoms, and they persist for longer than a day with no apparent cause, you should pay a visit to your podiatrist for an examination.
3. Make healthy lifestyle changes.
The way your care for your entire body will affect your foot health. Smoking is bad for everyone, but it's particularly dangerous for people with poor circulation. Nicotine causes your blood vessels to constrict, which further reduces blood flow. If you currently smoke, make an effort to quit for the sake of your feet.
4. Get your feet examined once a year.
Even if you don't experience unwanted symptoms, you should still visit a podiatrist at least once a year for a thorough examination. Prompt treatment will significantly reduce your chance of contracting gangrene, which can lead to amputation. Your podiatrist can suggest changes to your diet and self-care regimen to boost your foot health if necessary. They can identify potential ulcers and treat them before they become a significant problem.