Testing for diabetic neuropathy

Common Conditions – Diabetes

How does Diabetes affect my feet?

Diabetes is a condition that develops from high blood sugar levels.  This can damage the blood vessels and nerves that supply your legs and feet.  Where the blood vessels have been damaged, there is a reduction in circulation and therefore a reduction to the blood getting to your skin, muscles and tissues.  Where the nerve supply is damaged, sensation can be reduced, the skin condition can be impaired and you may be more likely to develop bony deformity; this is known as neuropathy.  Because of these factors, any injury has the potential to develop into something more serious.  If the skin is damaged by trauma, healing may be delayed, and foot ulcers may develop.  If the sensation to your feet is reduced, it is possible that you can damage your feet unknowingly.  If this damage goes untreated, it potentially be serious, leading to ulceration, gangrene or amputation.

How is it treated?

The risk of complications is greatly reduced if your blood sugar levels are under control.  Your GP or consultant will help monitor and control this.  From a foot perspective, it is recommended that you regularly see a Podiatrist to maintain your foot health and to help prevent complications occurring.  You can also help yourself by always keeping your feet clean, wearing shoes that fit well and don’t rub, and by checking your feet daily for areas of broken/infected skin.  It is also recommended that you avoid extremes of temperature and walking barefoot to avoid burns, blisters, cuts or grazes.  If you are concerned about your feet, you should seek the advice of a Podiatrist or your GP immediately.

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