Diabetes is a metabolism malfunction, connected to the inability of the body to convert glucose. The symptoms for diabetes in an individual are often quite evident. Symptoms often include: frequent urination, constant feeling of thirstiness, hunger even after having eaten, extreme sense of fatigue, problems with vision (blurry), and really slow process of healing of cuts and bruises. This slow healing can lead to a dangerous complication that can result from chronically high blood sugar levels.
Neuropathy or peripheral neuropathy is a common complication of systemic disease such as diabetes. This disorder occurs because of the malfunction of nerves which have been destroyed or damaged. Because of this, the transmission of signals is significantly interrupted, thus causing the sense of pain even though there may be nothing wrong in that area, or the opposite of not sending pain signals when something isn’t right. This can cause loss of sensation and numbness usually in the extremities. This happens very often in the feet. It is estimated that about 70 percent of those with consistently high blood sugar levels will eventually develop peripheral neuropathy.
Diabetes is one of the top causes for this type of neuropathy. It usually appears in people with diabetes that are overweight, over 40 years old or have significantly high blood pressure. This is extremely dangerous because even a slight injury to the foot can easily go unnoticed and can turn into a more serious scenario, possibly even leading to amputation.
The Dangers of Skin Wounds
With the nerve damage diabetes causes, the proper function of the immune system of the body is interrupted. People suffering from diabetes often have problems with infections and coagulation from open wounds. Some precautions need to be taken in order to prevent these minor wounds from becoming an even bigger problem. In case this happens, the individual should take action as soon as possible to prevent a build-up of bacteria and the creation of larger bacteria colony. Some immediate steps to take are to place the wound under a water stream to clean any dirt or debris from the wound. After that, it is important to apply an antibacterial ointment on the open wound and cover it with a sterile bandage. It is not recommended to use soap, iodine or hydrogen peroxide as this will only increase the irritation. Soap should only be applied around the areas of the wound, but not on it. Be sure to change the bandage every day and put on a new sterile bandage, while making sure to clean the area around it each time.
Regardless of how minor the injury may seem, it is very important to consult with your doctor and get the injury checked out. Even minor skin rashes or wounds are advised to be seen by a professional in order to prevent bigger problems. Especially if the location is the foot (diabetics are prone to have blisters on such areas), stay off the foot as much as possible.
The best therapy is prevention; if you suffer from diabetes check your feet daily for any changes on the skin. Practice proper and diligent hygiene, and wear proper socks and shoes. Also, take care when clipping toenails, and keep an eye out for ingrown nails, as they can result in bigger issues as well.