Characteristics of diabetes in the feet
Diabetes can affect the feet in several ways due to high blood sugar levels causing damage to blood vessels and nerves. Some common characteristics of diabetes in the feet include:
- Numbness or tingling: High blood sugar levels can damage nerves, leading to a loss of sensation in the feet, making it difficult to feel pain or other sensations.
- Slow healing: Diabetes can also cause damage to blood vessels, which can reduce blood flow to the feet and slow down the healing process.
- Skin changes: The skin on the feet of a person with diabetes may become dry and cracked due to reduced moisture levels. Additionally, the skin may change color or texture, and blisters and sores may develop.
- Infections: Due to reduced sensation and slower healing, people with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing infections in their feet. These infections can lead to serious complications, including gangrene and amputation.
- Foot deformities: Over time, high blood sugar levels can cause changes to the shape of the foot, leading to conditions such as hammertoes, bunions, and Charcot's foot. These deformities can cause discomfort and make it more difficult to walk.
Diabetes assessment for foot
A diabetes assessment for the foot is a thorough examination of the feet and lower extremities to detect any complications that may arise due to diabetes. The assessment is typically performed by a healthcare professional, such as a podiatrist. It involves a series of tests to evaluate nerve function, blood flow, and any areas of concern on the feet, such as ulcers or calluses.
The assessment may also include reviewing the patient's medical history, current medications, and lifestyle factors that may impact foot health. The goal of a diabetes assessment for the foot is to prevent or manage complications such as neuropathy, poor circulation, infections, and foot ulcers, which can lead to serious health issues if left untreated.
Risk classification and referral/follow-up of diabetes screening
Diabetes screening typically involves assessing an individual's blood sugar levels and identifying risk factors that may increase their likelihood of diabetes. Based on the screening results, individuals may be classified into risk categories and referred for further testing or follow-up.
There are several risk classification systems used for diabetes screening. Still, some common factors that may be considered include age, body mass index (BMI), family history of diabetes, and other health conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Individuals classified as at high risk for diabetes may be referred for additional testing, such as a fasting blood glucose test or an oral glucose tolerance test. They may also be advised to make lifestyle changes such as losing weight, increasing physical activity, and improving their diet to help reduce their risk of developing diabetes.
For those diagnosed with diabetes, regular follow-up appointments with a healthcare provider are important to monitor blood sugar levels, manage any complications or symptoms, and adjust treatment as needed. This may include working with a team of healthcare professionals, such as a podiatrist, to address diabetes-related foot issues and prevent further complications.
The Diabetes assessment we conduct at Step Relief tests the sensory and motor nerves to your feet and blood supply. By doing this, we can map out and record the progression or deterioration caused by diabetes. Additionally, we provide education about preventing any complications arising from diabetes and the signs to look for.