If you suffer from diabetes, you certainly aren’t alone. And it looks as though the disease is not going away with younger generations. As USA Today reported in 2014, diabetes rates among children increased 30 percent between 2000 and 2009, and those kids are just a fraction of the millions of Americans — including New Yorkers and Long Islanders — who have it. While the disease’s rates continue to skyrocket, celebrities like Sherri Shepherd, Halle Berry, Paula Deen, Drew Carey, and Tom Hanks are coming forward and sharing their personal accounts of the condition.
“I went to the doctor, and he said, ‘You know those high blood sugar numbers you’ve been dealing with since you were 36? Well, you’ve graduated! You’ve got type 2 diabetes, young man,’” Hanks told Dave Letterman in an interview.
While his onstage delivery got some chuckles from the audience, beloved actor Hanks knows that diabetes is no laughing matter. The condition, typically caused by either genetics or poor exercise and diet habits, can lead to a range of health issues, from cardiovascular disease and nerve issues to kidney and eye damage. That’s why diabetics need to be especially mindful of their glucose levels and general wellness — including foot health.
So what foot-related complications are connected to diabetes?
Many of the foot-related issues that we see in patients with diabetes are caused by vascular and neurological problems. Because diabetics are more prone to small vessel disease, they can have a compromised circulatory status that may delay healing even the simplest and most common wounds and bumps, like calluses, corns, and bunions.
Diabetic ulcerations (sores that can lead to deep infections), diabetic neuropathies (nerve conduction problems that can cause tingling, numbness, and an absence of feeling in the feet), and other infections might also accompany diabetes.
The good news is that you can work to avoid these complications by practicing prevention:
- Keep an eye on your feet. On a daily basis, look for any changes in appearance or feeling. Remember that foot numbness can keep you from noticing developing issues.
- Seek regular diabetic foot screenings. At Country Foot Care, we’re always ready to have conversations about your feet and we love answering questions — from “Is this normal?” to “How can I keep this from happening again?”
- Maintain good hygiene and keep you blood sugar levels under control. If it helps, seek out a support group or keep a journal. Staying on top of your general health by eating right and exercising can also help prevent foot-related complications.
- Consider diabetic shoes and socks. These are specially created to help protect your feet when you are out and about. (And we have several options for sale in our office!)
A diabetes diagnosis can be disappointing, but it doesn’t have to control your life, and you’re certainly not fighting the battle alone. Stop by Country Foot Care to learn more about your prevention and treatment options.