World Diabetes Day is held on the 14th of November every year. It was first observed in 1991 as a result of a joint campaign between the World Health Organisation and the International Diabetes Federation. Reaching an audience of over 1 billion people in 160 countries, the day aims to remind people of the dangers of diabetes and to keep it at the fore of public consciousness.
Diabetes & Feet
One of the biggest problems with diabetes is that it affects your circulation. Atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in the arteries, is a prevalent enough problem in today’s society, but diabetes can exacerbate this and take it much further. Diabetes can cause inflammation and decrease blood flow, both of which make it harder for blood to circulate. Since your feet are close to the ground, and are the body part farthest from your heart, they are usually the worst affected area.
Poor circulation means that your feet will be less healthy in almost every way. The lack of blood flow can lead to cramps and pain, while at the same time your feet will also become less adept at healing themselves. This means that things like cuts and sores will not only take longer to heal, but are more likely to become infected.
With poor circulation, the cells in our feet become less healthy and less capable of doing their jobs. One of the main ways this manifests is through neuropathy, where nerve signals are interrupted, which can come in a few different forms.
The most common type of neuropathy is sensory neuropathy, which is when the nerves lose the ability to signal sensations, such as hot, cold, or painful. While by definition this itself is not painful, the problem that arises is you may not notice when your feet are cut or injured, meaning you may not tend to the problem, and it could worsen or lead to infection.
Motor neuropathy refers to our nerves’ abilities to help us coordinate our movements. When these nerves fail, it not only becomes harder to move, your feet may react by ‘defaulting’ to a new position. Your toes may curl up for example, or you may develop pronation, where you walk with the inside of your feet pushing down against the ground.
If not managed correctly, diabetes can have major consequences for a wide range of health issues, but the feet are by far one of the worst affected areas. While the condition is becoming easier to manage thanks to scientific advancements and the increasing range of diabetic products, food, and drink, it is still something that must be monitored very closely. It can be tempting to ignore any strange sensations in your feet rather than face another trip to the doctor, but the consequences of managing your feet poorly could be drastic. If you are diabetic and believe that something feels off, play it safe and visit a specialist.
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