By 2045, it is estimated that 625 million people worldwide will be diagnosed with Diabetes. This rampant disease not only causes major health complications, including kidney failure, blindness, and heart attacks, people with diabetes are 10-20 times more likely to experience a lower-limb amputation of part of the leg, toe or foot. Here we will take a look at how the disease affects your feet and what we can do to help prevent these serious, life-threatening complications.
How Does Diabetes Affect Your Feet?
Diabetes occurs in your body when your blood glucose levels are too high, due to a lack of insulin being produced. When your blood sugars are at these chronically increased levels, over time, they can break down and damage your nerves, blood vessels, and immune system, impairing your body’s ability to fight off infection. The most common underlying conditions that can affect your feet and overall health when diagnosed with diabetes are Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy, Peripheral Artery Disease, and foot ulcers.
Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy causes you to experience numbness in your legs and feet while Peripheral Artery Disease causes your arteries to narrow, reducing the blood flow to your extremities. If you have a cut, sore, bunion, or blister on your foot, it could easily go unnoticed because of the loss of feeling in the affected area leading to a foot ulcer. Due to poor blood circulation, the foot ulcers can become infected by the wound healing too slowly and lead to amputation.
According to the D-Foot International, 85% of lower extremity amputations are preceded by a foot ulcer, with one in seven people with diabetes developing a foot ulcer over their diagnosis:
“Life expectancy following a lower limb amputation is significantly reduced. Almost one- quarter of people die within 30-days of amputation, almost half at 1 year and up to 80% in 5 years.The 5-year survival rate after a lower-limb amputation is lower than that in common cancers, noticeably demonstrating the frailty of this population”.
What Can You Do to Help Manage & Prevent These Conditions?
The number one step to preventing serious foot complications is creating a daily skin routine to inspect your feet for cuts, blisters, and any overall changes in condition and reporting those changes to your health care professional immediately. The Habit Camera helps you to view the soles of your feet more easily and directly send over imaging to your doctor from the comfort of your home.
- Keep your feet clean by washing daily, bathing them in lukewarm water.
- Wash feet with a soft washcloth.
- Moisturize your feet but not between your toes to avoid fungal infection.
- Cut nails carefully straight across, to avoid in-grown toenails.
- Wear clean, dry socks and change them daily.
- Avoid smoking as it restricts blood flow to your feet.
- Never walk barefoot, even at home, to avoid getting any scratches or cuts.
Diabetes is life-altering, but by making skin inspection of your feet a habit along with these other preventable provisions, we can reduce the risk of it being limb altering.
About Habit Camera:
Habit Camera is an affordable, ergonomic, and wireless camera built for skin inspection in modern telehealth. High quality, iOS, and Android compatible, Habit Camera is accessible to everyone, regardless of physical conditions, making it easier to make skin inspection a habit.
Learn more about Habit Camera's unique features, back-story, and how you can pre-order today!