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Smokers are at high risk of developing a diabetic foot. Know how it can be prevented

Published on:17 August 2021, 13:30pm IST
Foot affections are a major source of morbidity and a leading cause of hospitalization among people affected with diabetes mellitus. Ulceration, infection, gangrene, and amputation are significant complications of diabetic foot. Here’s all you need to know
Dr Sridhar S
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diabetic foot
Here’s how you can deal with a diabetic foot. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Diabetic foot is frequent among people with uncontrolled blood glucose levels. Obstructed blood flow and unnoticed cuts on the feet may develop diabetic feet in people with high blood sugar levels. Smoking elevates the risk of developing diabetic foot, as smoking reduces the blood circulation in the legs and causes loss of sensation in the feet. Early treatment of diabetic foot ulcers can often prevent irreversible damage.

The foot complications related to diabetes usually occurs, because of either or both the causes:

  • Lack of blood supply in the affected area is called ischemic foot
  • Loss of sensation in the feet, due to which the person does not notice a foot injury is called a neuropathic foot 

Although the underlying pathogenesis of diabetic foot complications has been understood extensively, much research is required to determine the crucial factors that can effectively prevent these ulcerations. Diabetic foot ulcerations are one of the leading precipitating conditions responsible for different lower extremity amputations in patients with diabetes. 

diabetic foot
Diabetic foot pain is often accompanied by tingling and burning in the feet. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
What are the symptoms of diabetic foot?

 Recognizing important risk factors and making a logical, treatment-oriented assessment of the diabetic foot requires a consistent and thorough diagnostic approach. People with diabetes must undertake a foot inspection and should receive a thorough foot examination at least once each year. 

Also, read: Monsoons can be problematic for diabetics. Keep these tips handy to stay safe

The common symptoms experienced by people with diabetes who have developed diabetic foot include:

  • Numbness, tingling, and pain in the legs
  • Loss of balance
  • Discoloration of skin
  • Blisters or other wounds on the foot
  • Foul smell from foot

People with diabetes experiencing these symptoms must not ignore them, to avoid irreversible complications. 

Who is at risk of developing a diabetic foot? 

There are several factors that predispose to the development of diabetic foot problems. People who are at risk of developing diabetic feet include:

  • People having fat or plaque deposition in the inner lining of the blood vessels that supply the lower extremities.
  • People who smoke.
  • Individuals with uncontrolled blood glucose levels.
  • People having diabetic kidney disease.
  • Individuals with long standing type 1 diabetes.
  • People leading a sedentary lifestyle.
diabetic foot
Foot problems in diabetes can occur due to restricted blood flow and unnoticed cuts and infections. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
How should people with diabetes take care of their feet?

Prevention is the key element in avoiding ulcer recurrence and diabetic lower extremity amputation. It is estimated that 15% of patients with diabetes will develop a lower extremity ulcer during the course of their disease. People with diabetes must take care to include the following tips to avoid developing diabetic foot:

  • Check your feet regularly for any cuts or injuries. Also, check for any discoloration of the feet.
  • Keep your feet dry and moisturized.
  • Never try to treat your callosities or corn yourself at home.

 With proper care and management, one can easily manage diabetic feet and avoid developing any complications. 

Dr Sridhar S Dr Sridhar S

Dr Sridhar S, MD, DM (Endo), Department of Endocrinology, Madurai Medical College and who is one of the leading Diabetologists at Govt Rajaji Hospital, Madurai.