Diabetes is a systemic metabolic disorder that impairs the body’s ability to absorb glucose from the blood stream and provide it to the tissue cells that require it for normal activity and health. The elevated blood glucose levels that remain in the bloodstream affect all body organs and systems, including the circulatory system and the peripheral nerves of the lower limb.
Initially, changes may be minimal such as noticing dryness of the skin around the toes, or tingling of the toes at night. Eventually this may progress to complete numbness along the sole of the foot, which results in loss of protective sensation and eventually neuropathic ulceration.
Reduced circulation to the feet and lower limbs further impacts on these neurological changes and prevents adequate oxygenation and nutrition to the extremities. You may have heard that some people with advanced Diabetes progress to foot or leg amputation, and this is a real threat if overall management is not adequate.
Diabetes Australia recommends an annual review by a qualified podiatrist to quantify your foot health status, and the level of risk and precaution you should take. As specialists in this field, Podiatrists are able to use diagnostic tests to assess your sensation and circulation and place that within the bigger picture of your overall health. Furthermore a Podiatrist will provide necessary treatment at the time of the consultation involving skin and nail care for corns, calluses or ingrown toenails or ulcer debridement in more advanced cases
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