According to the American Diabetes Association, the ADA, “People with diabetes are far more likely to have a foot or leg amputated than other people” (ADA, 2016). A lot of people have foot complications due to diabetes.
This makes it critical to make sure you are taking care of your feet. Doing things like using lotion, washing them instead of soaking them, and paying close attention to your feet can help you a lot.
However, diabetes is still one of the main reasons for someone having a leg amputated. Why?
According to the ADA, many people that are diagnosed with diabetes will eventually develop peripheral arterial disease, otherwise known as PAD (ADA, 2016).
PAD restricts and reduces the blood flow that gets to the feet. If someone has diabetes, they also are at a higher risk of getting a nerve disease or nerve damage. This can reduce the feeling inside of the foot, causing ulcers and infections to go unnoticed if someone is not checking consistently.
It will also cause someone not to feel pain. Therefore, if you stepped on a nail, nerve damage could prevent you from feeling it.
If you do not check your feet consistently, it increases your risk of developing an infection that will infect the bone, which would lead to amputation.
There is great news though. Amputations are preventable! I will repeat this. Amputations are preventable!
Then why do they take place?
Amputations are preventable when someone takes care of their feet and pays close attention to them. This will help you to recognize when you have a callus, ulcer, or a possible infection. It will assist you to see when you need to seek medical help, and it will be a great alert on whether you should exercise that day or not.
Prescription shoes can help a lot. If your foot has changed shape due to diabetes, these shoes can help your feet stay comfortable instead of crammed. Coming from a runner, great footwear prevents a lot of problems. When you take care of your shoes and soles, it will do most of the work in keeping your feet healthy.
It is important that you are in constant communication with your healthcare doctor. They will be able to give you the best advice on how to handle any foot problems you come across. Great communication will help you to notice problems before they become bad enough to call for amputation.
The ADA states, smoking is one of the biggest threats to your feet because it attacks small blood vessels inside of your body (ADA, 2016). Smoking can cause wounds to take much longer to heal. Also, it will restrict how much blood can reach your feet.
Therefore, it is very important that you find any way possible to quit smoking. Smoking also raises blood pressure and will cause other problems with living a productive diabetes lifestyle.
According to the ADA, “A lot of people with diabetes who need amputations are smokers” (ADA, 2016).
Contact your doctor. Take the steps so you can protect your feet, and make sure that you never get to the point of amputation.
American Diabetes Association. (2016). Foot complications. American Diabetes Association. Retrieved from http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/foot-complications/?referrer=https://www.google.com/