The people with diabetes should control the glucose levels to avoid health problems derived from this disease. But in addition, it is also important that they carry out their corresponding vascular studies and take extreme care in foot injuries to avoid what is known as diabetic foot.
Although many people are unaware of this health condition, diabetic foot is any lesion, infection or ulceration of the feet related to neuropathy and/or peripheral vascular disease in patients with diabetes. This can happen over time when high blood sugar damages the nerves and blood vessels in the feet. Diabetic neuropathy, the term for the nerve damage, can make your feet numb, tingly, painful, swelling in the ankle or foot Leg pain, ingrown toenails or fungus-infected toenails, corns or calluses, and dry skin cracks, particularly near the heel. Diabetic foot infections are a frequent clinical problem. With proper management, the majority of conditions can be treated using custom shoe insoles which gives relief from pain, cramps, tiredness, reduces stiffness and much more.
In this sense, the head of the Angiology and Vascular Surgery Unit at Ruber Internacional, Dr. Pablo Gallo, explains that if the blood glucose values are too high and are prolonged over time, they predispose to the appearance of complications of the nerves and blood vessels.
All this, added to other cardiovascular risk factors, such as high cholesterol, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, smoking or high blood pressure.
Diabetic foot and high glucose
Dr. Gallo argues that “nerve damage causes a decrease or loss of sensitivity, which makes it easier for small injuries to go unnoticed.”
In this regard, this expert in the field points out that the damage that originates in the blood vessels can have a significant impact on the legs, due to the fact that not enough blood reaches them. Thus, injuries or small scratches take longer to heal, increasing the risk of progressing in size and/or becoming infected.
In this way, if patients with diabetes do not have adequate control of glucose in the blood, have a negative impact on health and increase the risk of diabetic foot.
The typical symptoms of diabetic foot are a sensation of tingling, numbness, cramps and/or pain at rest, generally when lying down. On some occasions, it can even lead to total loss of sensitivity; as well as the appearance of lesions on the skin of the feet.
In addition, Dr. Gallo states that “showcase disease can also occur, caused by pain when walking that forces the patient to stop (intermittent claudication when walking), as well as changes in the skin, dryness, thin skin , with absence of hair, thickened nails and loss of the fat pad on the sole of the foot”.
How to prevent diabetic foot
The experts explain that the vascular study carried out to prevent diabetic foot should include an Echo-Doppier. “It is a tool that provides us with relevant information on blood circulation,” says Dr. Gallo.
On the other hand, Dr. Santiago Zubicoa, head of the Interventional Vascular Radiology Unit at Hospital Ruber, and in agreement with Dr. Pablo Gallo, point out that good control of blood glucose and follow healthy lifestyle habits; In addition to carrying out proper foot care, it is key to preventing diabetic foot.
Both experts agree that it is important to emphasize that everyone with diabetes is at risk of suffering from diabetic foot. However, they affirm that good control of blood glucose, added to healthy lifestyle habits, foot care and good choice of footwear are “the key” to prevent diabetic foot.
In conclusion, Dr. Zubicoa presents in an interview for ‘Infosalus’ that «the treatment must be individualized and will depend on the degree of the disease. When peripheral arterial disease is established, a detailed study must be carried out to determine if the treatment should be conservative or if it is necessary to carry out endovascular treatments to get more blood to the legs”.