More than 20 million American men and women have diabetes, a chronic illness with a wide range of complications and side effects, many of which negatively impact foot health. Nearly 25% of diabetics are unaware of their health status and if untreated, their illness progresses. This creates the likelihood of worse symptoms down the road. It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of diabetes and to discuss your risk with your podiatrist.
What is Diabetes?
People with diabetes are unable to manufacture or properly use insulin, a critical hormone. Their bodies are unable or find difficulty in converting sugars, starches, and other foods into energy and creates hyperglycemia, elevated blood sugar. Over time, this hyperglycemia can damage the feet, eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves, and blood vessels.
Symptoms of Diabetes
The hyperglycemia caused by diabetes can create numerous symptoms. Be alert to the following and discuss them with your podiatrist:
● tingling or numbness of the feet (diabetic neuropathy)
● slow-to-heal foot wounds
● frequent urination
● excessive thirst
● extreme hunger or lack of appetite
● unexplained weight loss or gain
● blurred vision
Your risk of developing diabetes is influenced by numerous factors, including family history, age, gender, race, and weight. Be sure to discuss your risk with your doctor at your next visit.
Living with Diabetes
If you test positive for diabetes, your care will be managed by your physician and, because of the potential negative podiatric repercussions of the disease, regular visits to your foot doctor will be essential.
There is no cure for diabetes, but there is treatment available. Proper diet, exercise, medical care, and careful home management all help keep the most serious of consequences at bay and allow you to enjoy a long, full life.
If you are concerned about diabetes or anything else related to the health of your feet, ankles, or lower legs, a visit to the podiatrist is in order. With years of specialized training andexperience, your foot doctor is the best-qualified medical professional to help you.James M. McKee, DPM, FACFAS is an expert in working with diabetic patients. Call Podiatry Group of Annapolis, P.A. at 410-224-4448 or contact us online to schedule a convenient appointment in our comfortable office in Annapolis, MD.