It’s always confusing for diabetic patients when they are told that they should see a podiatrist and have their feet or ankles checked.
Diabetes, either Type 1 or Type 2, is a disease that touches roughly around 5% of people living in Australia. Unfortunately, this number seems to be increasing, which is worrying. Diabetes has several risk factors attached to it, namely, having a sedentary lifestyle, diet, and genetics, among other things, so it’s best to watch out for those because having it can be a challenge. The disease is linked to a number of other diseases, like cardiovascular ones. It occurs when there is no or there is a lack of production of insulin. Insulin is the amount of glucose (sugar) in the body produced by pancreatic beta cells, which helps transport the sugar in the bloodstream to the body’s cells.
Type 1 Diabetes
Having Type 1 diabetes means that there is very low or practically no production of insulin. This would mean that there is some damage to the pancreas’ beta cells, which are responsible for production of insulin. In this case, an insulin replacement therapy is necessary to restore normal insulin levels.
Type 2 Diabetes
Having Type 2 diabetes means that there is merely a lack of insulin. It may be low, but there are still some. This type is usually due to genetics, wherein an immediate family member would have the disease as well. Insulin replacement therapy can also be done in this case, but it’s not always necessary. This type of diabetes can often be managed by changing your diet and closely monitoring yourself.
This type of diabetes occurs in pregnant women and is similar in presentation to Type 2 diabetes. It happens when the hormones produced by the placenta, which allows the baby to grow and develop, holds back insulin in fighting high sugar levels in the blood. This type usually disappears after pregnancy. However, women who have had Gestational diabetes have a higher chance of getting Type 2 diabetes later on. Treatment would depend on the person. Like Type 2, it can be managed through diet and even physical activity, but medication or insulin injections can also help.
Going to a podiatrist as a diabetic
Seeing a podiatrist is recommended if you have been diagnosed with any type of diabetes because it can affect blood flow, as well as your body’s nerves. The feet are such a far away body part, so far from the brain and the heart, that they are usually the first to be affected.
Diabetics have an increased amount of sugar in their blood, the glucose molecules can attach to your arteries’ walls and cause atherosclerosis, which narrows the artery walls, making the amount of blood flowing through them decrease. This is very important because arteries are where the blood is transported from the heart to the entire body. When this happens, the feet, which is the farthest away from the heart, have the longest arteries and if blood flow to them is reduced, it can be dangerous, especially if you injure them. Healing won’t be as fast if this happens.
Diabetes can affect the nerves, which are in charge of a number of the body’s functions, like sensations, blood pressure, heart rate, and body movement. In concentrating on the feet, the sensory nerves are most important because they let us feel touch, vibration, and temperature. A myelin sheath insulates the nerve cells to protect the nerve fibers. When a person has diabetes, the myelin sheath absorbs more sugar than it should and becomes damaged. It makes the nerve fibers exposed and desensitized. This then makes you lose sensation in your feet, lessening a person’s ability to feel if they’re hurt in their foot, whether they’re injured or have blisters, warts, calluses, etc. If you don’t feel that anything is wrong, then you wouldn’t get the proper treatment. This could then lead to more serious conditions, like ulceration.
A podiatrist would be able to make sure that your feet and ankle are healthy. They would be able to check if you have any injuries or if you have calluses, corns, warts, any foot infections that need to be taken care of. They can even give you a comprehensive assessment of a diabetic foot and let you know whether there’s anything you need to be concerned about now or in the future.
So, if you’re a diabetic, don’t forget your feet and go see a podiatrist. Make an appointment for a foot health check. To get to know more about these reasons, here’s a great article you can check out.
Article Submitted By Community Writer