Keeping Your Skin And Feet Healthy When You Are Diabetic

When you have too much glucose in the blood over a long period of time it can cause damage to many parts of your body including your feet. There are many ways that you can control your destiny as a diabetic including the health of your feet and skin.

On a daily basis there are many things you can do to take better care of yourself that will have a direct impact on the health of your feet and skin. When you are diabetic it is important to eat nutritious foods according to a eating plan that your doctor or nutritionist has devised. It is also important to be active a minimum of 30 minutes each day. Your doctor can give you ideas of healthy physical activities to do. It is also important to take all medications as prescribed by your doctor. Perhaps one of the most important things you can do for yourself, as a diabetic to protect your feet and skin is to monitor your blood glucose level every day as instructed by your doctor. Check your feet for cuts, blisters, sores, swelling, redness, or ingrown toenails. Brush and floss your teeth and care for your gums every day. Manage your blood pressure and your cholesterol by having these levels checked on a regular basis and by eating healthy and exercising as directed by your doctor. If you currently smoke, quit and if you don’t smoke, do not start. Smoking is a habit that increases your risks for diabetic complications including those that impact your feet and skin.

Diabetes affects the health of your feet by causing nerve damage to your legs and feet. These damaged nerves cause you to have a decreased sensation of heat, cold and even pain in your feet and legs. This means that you are less likely to notice when temperatures are too hot, when you have a sore or other injuries to your feet until it is too late and infection sets in or damage occurs to your tissue on your feet. The lack of feeling in your feet caused by nerve damage is called diabetic neuropathy. This damage can lead to the formation of sores or infection of the skin on your feet.

Poor blood circulation as a result of diabetes can mean less blood flow, which decreases the healing process. This problem is called peripheral vascular disease (PVD). If you smoke and you have diabetes it can cause your blood flow problems to worsen.

Diabetics can take charge of their foot and skin health by washing their feet in warm water and soap every day and by drying them gently, especially between your toes. Diabetics should check their feet on a daily basis so that they will notice sores, cuts, redness, calluses or other problems early. You can rub lotion onto dry skin on top of your feet, but do not put lotion between your toes. File corns and calluses gently with an energy board or a pumice stone or have them professional cared for. Cut your nails once a week or as often as needed but do not cut them too close to the skin or too short. File the edges with an emery board. Always wear comfortable shoes or slippers and never go barefoot. Always wear socks or stockings to avoid blisters. Make sure your shoes fit well. Feel your shoes before putting them on to be sure there are no sharp edges or other foreign objects in them that may cause injury to your feet or toes. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any problems with your feet or skin. You should have a professional foot exam once a year. If you have difficulty cutting your toenails you can have a podiatrist do this for you.

Common problems with the feet that diabetics are prone to are corns, calluses, blisters, ingrown toenails, and bunions. Diabetics may also experience plantar warts, hammertoes, dry and cracked skin, or athlete’s foot which is a fungus that causes itchiness, redness, and cracking of the skin.

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