DIABETIC FOOT: causes and how to prevent it

Before any further discussion on diabetic foot, it is highly recommended that all diabetic patients take good care of themselves by maintaining an adequate control of their glucose level. This can be achieved by keeping to a strict diabetic diet and prescribed medications. When glucose levels in these patients get completely out of control, many types of complications begin to surface, of which diabetic foot is one. We have written another article that can increase your insight in understanding diabetes.

One of the most frequent health issues individuals with severe diabetes come to encounter is what is known as a diabetic foot. A diabetic foot are lesions which refuse to heal that escalate around the foot area of diabetic patients.

Diabetic foot usually starts out as a simple injury around the foot area. Patients usually consider these injuries as something normal and that they will be gone in about a week or two, but later come to realize that these injuries remain persistent. The injuries get even worse if not taken care of appropriately.

Understanding Diabetic Foot

Diabetes, as we know it, is a condition in which the glucose level in the blood is higher than normal. Adequate management of this condition helps prevent further complications.

According to the National Association of Diabetes, diabetic foot can be defined as an infection, ulceration or destruction of the profound tiddeus, with relation to neurological alterations and vascular peripheral disease in the lower limbs of people whose diabetes is not well controlled.

The frequency of diabetics having an ulceration in the lower limb compared to the upper limb is like 99% to 1%, and this is solely because the lower limb is far away from the heart. This means there will be a lower flow of blood to that region.

However, there are other factors that contribute to this low amount of blood flow to the lower limb which increase the frequency foot lesions in diabetics. These factors are: Diabetic Neuropathy and Peripheral Arterial Disease.

Causes of Diabetic Foot

In summary, both vascular disease and diabetic neuropathy are the two main causes of diabetic foot. A good understanding of this pathology can lead to a better management of the condition.

Diabetic Neuropathy

The cause of diabetic foot comes principally from the progressive lesion caused by diabetes, which is called diabetic neuropathy. Neuropathy is very common in patients with advanced diabetes. It is a condition whereby the nerve cells, which are incharge of informing the body about the different stimulus and controlling of the muscles, die off.

This neuropathy leads to the loss of sensation, especially the sense to pain and heat, and also muscle atrophy, leading to a deformity of the feet. There is loss of sensory response to the affected region.

It implies that if there should be a wound, high pressure to the feet or excessive exposure to heat or cold to the affected limb, the person won’t feel it and there won’t be an adequate response required by the body to increase its healing process or functionality.

Vascular Disease

On the other hand, our foot is a region of low blood flow due to its distance from the heart. When that is added to the vascular lesions commonly caused by diabetes (peripheral artery disease), then the blood flow to the feet becomes even lower. This results in a low amount of nutrients carried by the blood to our extremities, and low inflammatory response that also depends on the blood flow.

With this low circulation of blood, when an infected wound is present on the foot, healing sometimes can take a longer time or prove to be impossible because blood flow is limited to this region. In such cases, oral medications has proven not to be effective due to the same restrictions.

Treatment and Prevention

Medical practitioners classify diabetic foot and its risk level using several medical scales. The most commonly used one is the Wagner Scale, which evaluates the risk of infection and amputation.

Oral medication, and in general, all kinds of medications taken into the system are not efficient for treatment of diabetic foot due to the low amount of blood flow to the region. Hence, treatment for diabetic foot is local wound dressing done twice daily. In severe cases, the affected limb may need to be amputated.

Lesions of the feet in diabetic patients can always be avoided if the patient’s blood sugar level is well controlled. This is the only way to prevent diabetic foot and any further complications of diabetes. The advice to diabetic patients remains the same; which is to maintain an adequate low sugar or sugar free diet.

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