Categories : Diabetes



severe peripheral arterial disease

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Diabetes continues to grow at an alarming rate each year worldwide. Diabetes not only affects adults but children as well. According to American Diabetes Association, “Nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.” Uncontrolled diabetes can affect many systems in the human body. Below we will be outlining some of the symptoms and conditions in the feet and lower extremities caused by diabetes. The three areas we would like to cover today is your skin, nerves and circulatory systems.

Integumentary system (skin)

Your skin is a crucial system for your body; it’s what protects you from foreign bodies and infections. People with uncontrolled diabetes face a variety of skin problems and many affecting the lower legs and feet. Some of these problems include dry skin, calluses and pressure ulcers. Diabetes can affect the nerves, which in turn can disrupt the control of oil glands that gives your skin moisture and elasticity. When your skin loses its ability to protect, it starts to breakdown. Some symptoms to look out for are a loss of hair, slow healing cuts and non-healing wounds. Diabetic ulcers on the feet and lower legs can lead to limb loss and further complications. Diabetics need to examine their skin on a regular basis for early detection.

Nervous System (Sense of Feeling)

The nervous system is the system of nerves that tells the brain what’s going on with the body. People with uncontrolled diabetes can start to have nerve damage and especially in the body’s lower extremities. diabetics can develop a condition called Peripheral Neuropathy. There are many underlying reasons why people have this condition, but according to the Neuropathy Association 60-70% develop this condition due to diabetes. Peripheral Neuropathy can pose potential problems in the foot and ankle for diabetics. People with neuropathy have impaired sense of feeling in the feet. This poses problems for diabetics since they won’t know when there having a foot and ankle condition that needs to be treated. For example if a diabetic patient has a ulcerated area or wound on the foot they would be unable to detect the pain normally associated with an injury, thus causing the wound to get worse being untreated.

Circulatory System (Heart, Blood, Blood Vessels)

Cardiovascular or Circulatory system is one of the most important systems in the body. Its what delivers nutrient and oxygen rich blood to all parts of the body. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to Peripheral vascular disease which poses many problems for diabetics. With this condition the blood that is circulating the body impaired and not supplying the body with the nutrients and oxygen it needs. This condition can lead tissue death. Thats why wounds on the foot, ankle and lower extremity are at risk of developing into conditions like Gangrene.

As you can see diabetic patients are at risk and prevention is the key to keeping your feet, ankle and lower extremities in a healthy state. If you are a diabetic and start to notice skin break down in the lower extremities consult a podiatrist for an examination.

Diabetics and Foot care Video

Below is a video about diabetes and foot care. It a good video covering this topic !