In Australia, diabetes is one of the most common health conditions with 1.7 million people that have been diagnosed nationwide. Type 2 diabetes is the most common of the three types, and is largely a result of diet and lifestyle.
Once you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you will have this for life, but that does’t mean it cannot be managed. By keeping blood sugar levels in a healthy range and seeking advice from healthcare professionals this condition can be kept under control and complications minimised.
Diabetes can affect the feet in many ways. The small blood vessels that supply your feet with blood can become hardened and damaged, meaning not as much blood can get there to supply vital nutrients and oxygen to your muscles and tissues. This means that if you cut your skin or have a sore, it can take longer than normal to heal.
The nerves that allow you to feel the ground beneath your feet and make you recoil from pain can be damaged, leading to numbness. Often, people who can’t feel their feet will injure themselves and not notice, making the sore worse.
Sweat glands can change, leading to dry, flaky skin.
Your immune system can reduce, meaning increased risk of infection.
When diabetes is well managed, the damage to blood flow and nerves can be minimal, so diet, exercise, education and regular check ups are of utmost importance!
A podiatrist will conduct an assessment of your nerves and blood flow, give you important advice on how to keep your feet healthy and depending on your risk status, will suggest a suitable time period for you to return to have a check up.