Diabetes & Foot Problems: How Diabetes Can Affect Your Feet & What You Can Do About It

There are many long-term effects that can stem from diabetes if not kept under control. Damage to the large blood vessels can lead to cardiovascular disease while small blood vessel damage can create issues with the kidneys, eyes and nerves. This can then bring on problems with the feet, affecting your ability to walk.

Though these issues may seem drastic, if kept in check from early on diabetes can be a manageable disease. What can cause foot problems and what can you do to stop it?

Poor Blood Flow

Cholesterol forms plaque within the walls of the blood vessels, which narrows the passageways. The smaller the insides of the vessels become, the harder your heart has to work to pump the blood, which increases blood pressure. This heightens the risk of cardiovascular issues, and can lead to broken capillaries.

Poor blood flow also makes it difficult for a wound or infection to heal. When blood flow is poor through the legs, it can lead to unhealed sores on the feet. If an infection cannot heal, in some cases, amputation is necessary.

Nerve Damage

Having too much glucose – or sugar – in the blood can lead to nerve damage. Damage to the nerves in the feet may cause you to lose feeling in those areas. Losing feeling in the feet could mean that you won’t notice a sore rubbing or an infection forming. The glucose can also feed into the infection, so it may be getting worse without you knowing it was ever there in the first place.

What Can You Do?

Don’t Smoke. Smoking can reduce blood flow to the feet.

Stay Active. It’s more common to see poor blood flow amongst those who are overweight. Stay physically active and at a healthy weight to help keep your diabetes in check.

Eat Fruits & Vegetables. Stray far away from soft drinks. Eat more foods from the earth. If you need to raise your blood sugar do it through fresh or dried fruits.

Take Your Medicine. Even if you’re feeling okay, make sure you keep taking your medicine. The goal is to stay in control of your diabetes. Your medicine, along with a healthy lifestyle, can help you do that.

Keep Up With Your Feet. You should inspect your feet at least once a day for any sores or wounds that may have popped up. Particularly if there is already nerve damage to your feet and it’s difficult for you to notice pain or temperature in those areas. It’s also a good idea to have your doctor give your feet a thorough foot exam at least four times a year. Many serious foot issue can be prevented simply by managing your diabetes and keeping a strong watch on your feet.


How to Travel Safely with Diabetes

With warm weather in full effect, vacation season has officially arrived. This is the time of year that friends and family flock together to enjoy exploration and adventure, rest and relaxation, and some much needed time away. Doing this with diabetes, though, can be a lot to handle. Living with diabetes is hard enough itself, but when you factor in packing, travel and not being within your normal daily routine, it can get tricky. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming though! Check out these 6 tips for traveling safely and successfully with diabetes.

  1. See Your Doctor Before You Leave

Before you hit the road, travel overseas or plan to be anywhere other than home for an extended period of time, go see your doctor to have a medical exam. If you’re leaving home for a little while, you want to make sure everything is in control with your diabetes. Schedule the exam about a month before you leave, so that if everything isn’t in control, you have enough time to get things back on track.

Don’t leave your doctor’s office without getting both a letter and a prescription. If there’s an emergency, you’ll want to have a letter with you explaining what you need to do for your diabetes as well as list any allergies you might have. Though you should have enough supplies with you, a prescription for more insulin, syringes or pills is good to have with you just in case.

  1. Plan for Meals and Pack Healthy Snacks

Planning for meals is so important when traveling, especially if you’re going to be flying. Sometimes you can request meals for special dietary needs, but you should always have emergency snacks with you just in case. Some really great snacks for traveling (and always) are grapes and cheese, carrot sticks, walnuts, and low sugar yogurt.

  1. Know About Local Pharmacies and Hospitals

Research the closest hospitals and pharmacies before you go. If you’re staying in a hotel, the staff may be able to help you out with this as well. Even if you’ll be in the wilderness somewhere, try to figure out the closest hospital or urgent care to go if you’re in a bind.

  1. Check Your Blood Sugar Frequently

When you’re at home, you probably stick to the same routine along with foods that are relatively normal for you to munch on. While you’re away on vacation, you may be trying new or unfamiliar foods. Check your blood sugar more frequently than you normally would as well as 90 minutes or so after a meal.

  1. Pack Comfortable Walking Shoes

You may be doing a lot of walking while you’re away, so pack comfortable walking shoes to avoid blisters. If you’ll be walking on the beach, where sandals rather than going barefoot so you don’t get stuck with nasty cuts that could lead to infection.

  1. Bring Extra Supplies

Go ahead and bring twice as many supplies as you think you might need. Bring these in a carry-on bag as opposed to checking them on a flight where they could get lost or delayed. Also keep in mind where you’ll be able to store your supplies.


Ways to Manage Diabetes in Dogs

If you own a dog, you know the value that furry friends add to your life. Dogs are after all man’s best friend and they become part of our families. They greet you excitedly when you come home after a long day. They lay on the couch with you while you watch TV. They go everywhere you go. They are our loyal companions and as members of our family they deserve our love and dedication. Yet even as we care for them, unfortunately they sometimes get sick. One of the most common diseases in dogs is diabetes.


Causes of Diabetes and signs to look for


It is important to have your dog checked yearly, and have their vaccinations updated. Just like we have our yearly check-ups, our furry friends deserve to be checked. Signs of diabetes include excessive urination, hunger, weight loss, excessive thirst, and lethargy. If your dogs seems hungrier than usual you may want to have it checked by a vet in case of diabetes or another sickness. Your vet might recommend a specific diet change appropriate for the dog’s breed, age and size. Overweight dogs often succumb to diabetes, and the earlier your companion is diagnosed, the better to treat and care for them.


Healthy ways to treat your dog


Insulin. In rare occasions a vet may prescribe a human insulin, or possibly Vetsulin, which is a purified pig insulin. Your vet will take factors such as age and weight into consideration when choosing the best type of insulin for your dog.


Diet. Your vet may recommend a change in diet for your dog that is low in fat and high in fiber. Fiber slows the entrance of glucose into the blood can help level out weight. You may have to feed prescription food or homemade food that contains protein yet regulates weight and reduces inflammation. Make sure that your dog drinks lots of water. Fiber takes water from the body which can lead to constipation and other problems.


Have your dog checked often. Just as adults need annual check-ups, our furry friends need to be cared for as well. As dogs age they can develop sickness that can cause harm to their bodies and require a change in diet. You want to make sure that the food your dog is eating caters to their specific needs. Your vet can guide you on the best option for your breed.


Exercise. Just like humans require proper exercise, our furry friends also need their exercise to reduce their body weight and lower blood glucose levels. Consistency is key to maintain a healthy dog.


You may be surprised to learn that there are healthy people foods that actually help to improve overall conditions in dogs suffering from diabetes. Feeding your dog coconut oil only helps with digestion, reduces inflammation, and helps prevent and even control diabetes. As an added bonus, you can add coconut oil to your dog’s coat to keep it clean and shiny.


It is important to educate yourself as much about possible about the varying symptoms and cases of diabetes and check for abnormal symptoms in your canine. The more you learn the more prepared you will be if your furry friend develops the disease. Our canine friends are important and should be well cared for.


Testing for Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes (GD) affects about 1 in 10 women during their pregnancy. Fortunately, unlike other types of diabetes, GD (if treated properly) typically goes away after the baby is born. Although GD is usually short lived, it’s important to treat it for the health of the mother and baby. Since GD is often diagnosed later in the pregnancy, after the baby is developed, the risks to the baby are low. However, if GD is not managed, the extra insulin can a baby to be a bigger baby and delivery complications may occur.


The best way to find out if you have gestational diabetes is through testing and your doctor will recommend a test between the 24th and 28th week of your pregnancy. If you have certain “risk factors” such as advanced maternal age (over 35) or being overweight, your doctor may have you tested earlier in your pregnancy.

Routine Screening for GD


The thought of being diagnosed with gestational diabetes can be scary for many expectant mothers, however, the testing process if relatively easy and painless. While your testing experience may be different, here is what you can expect:


  • Initial Glucose Challenge Test: This test is also known as the 1 Hour Glucose Test. There is usually no fasting required for this test and patients are encouraged to eat as they normally would throughout the day. At the 1 hour test, you will be asked to drink a syrupy glucose solution, sometimes known as Glucola. Many people describe the glucose solution as tasting like flat soda, depending on the flavor, but it has a very sweet taste.


After you finish the glucose solution, you will be asked to sit quietly for an hour. After an

hour has passed your blood will be drawn and tested. If your blood sugar level is below

140 mg/dL, it’s usually considered normal and you have passed your glucose test and

further screening may not be needed. If your sugar levels test higher than 140, it’s likely

that you’ll need to move on to the 3 hour test.



  • Follow-Up Glucose Tolerance Testing: This test is also known as the 3 hour Glucose Test. Just like the initial test, you’ll be asked to drink the glucose solution, but this one has a higher concentration of glucose. You should fast (no food or drink) overnight and your blood will be drawn before you drink the Glucola, and after the first, second, and third hours. If at least 2 of your results are higher than normal, you will likely be diagnosed with GD and you will discuss treatment options with your doctor.



What If I Tested Early in My Pregnancy?

If your doctor tested you for GD before 24 weeks and you passed your glucose screening, you may have to be retested later in your pregnancy.


Are There Side Effects to the Test?


Although most women do not feel any ill effects from the glucose test, some women may feel light-headed, sweaty, or nauseous after drinking the glucose solution. If you start to feel ill, talk with medical staff and try to stay calm and quiet while you wait.


Diabetes Service Dogs

Diabetes affects everyone differently. While some individuals are able to manage their diabetes with relative ease and are in tune to their body’s needs, others may struggle to stay on top of or manage the disease that can be life threatening if not treated properly. When it comes to hypoglycemia (or low blood sugar), some individuals are unaware that their blood sugar is dangerously low. The American Diabetes Association refers to this as hypoglycemia unawareness and it affects people who have had diabetes for a long time and may have frequent low blood glucose episodes (which can make people less likely to sense the early warning signs). If you suffer from frequent bouts of hypoglycemia or have hypoglycemia awareness, have you considered having a dog help you out? Diabetes service dogs are becoming more popular and help to save lives. Here’s some proof:


Kristen has Type 1 diabetes and when she was in her early twenties she got a golden retriever puppy, whom she named Montana. One night, when Kristen was sleeping, Montana would not leave her side and was insistent that she wake up. At first, Kristen was annoyed that her dog had disturbed her sleep, but then she thought about checking her blood sugar, which ended up being low. Since the initial incident, Kristen’s four-legged friend wakes her up a few nights a month when he  detects her blood sugar is low and when she tests, he’s always right. Without Montana’s vigilant watch over Kristen, she could easily have an accident, fall into a diabetic coma, or even die.


The Job of a Diabetes Service Dog


In Kristen’s case, she was fortunate to have Montana by her side. Montana had not been trained to detect low blood sugar, it was just something he picked up on his own, but since the first life saving detection, Kristen does reward him with treats whenever he alerts her that she is hypoglycemic. A dog’s sense of smell is about 100,000 times more accurate than a human’s and even if you find your dog’s keen sense of smell to be annoying at times, it can be a lifesaver.


A diabetes service dog is trained to smell the changes in a person’s blood sugar, either too low or too high, through the person’s breath and body odor. Once the dog detects the change, he or she is trained to constantly alert (through pawing, whining, or barking) the individual until the levels return to normal. If the diabetic individual is unresponsive or is not improving, the service dog is trained to seek assistance from someone else.


Like other service dogs, a diabetes service dog becomes a constant companion and is always on watch for changes in his or her diabetic companion. Not only can a diabetes service dog save the life of his or her companion, but individuals with diabetes may feel more in control of their diabetes and may feel less afraid to partake in everyday activities such as work, social engagements, and even taking a nap.

Should Restaurants Offer Diabetic Friendly Menus?

In a survey done in the year 2014, around 9.3% of the population was suffering from diabetes. That is about 29.1 million Americans. The most inconvenient thing about being diabetic is keeping track of everything that is consumed. This makes it difficult to “eat out” at a favorite restaurant. Most restaurants do not take into consideration any of the needs or preferences of the 29 million diabetics that visit their establishments. Generally, most of the restaurants are for non-diabetic individuals who do not have to manage and check what they eat. These establishments do not bother much about cooking food or preparing menu items that are diabetic-friendly.

Wait Times

Restaurants serving food to individuals with diabetes should keep in mind that the patients with a high (or low) glucose levels need to eat on time. Individuals that are diabetics likely take insulin injections or tablets, and within a certain time, they need to eat. Restaurants should understand this and should provide services accordingly. Restaurants should also be mindful of not keeping patrons waiting for too long. There should also be emergency medical kits in case anyone falls sick in the establishment.

Menu Redesign

Experienced chefs should redesign menus that are appropriate for consumption for those that suffer from diabetes. They should know and report on the menu the amount of sugar and salt that is in the food. Moreover, they should know and disclose which starchy items that may be included in meals. Menus should be more transparent and disclose exactly what is in their food. For many Americans, this is a crucial determinant in keeping their sugar levels in control.

Diabetic-Friendly Options

Restaurants should also provide diabetic-friendly options in their menus. Having diabetes does not mean eating having to eat tasteless or bland foods. Those with diabetes need to know that they have a high range of options too. With the increase in diabetes across the nations, our restaurants should be doing more to provide meals that everyone can enjoy, while still being healthy.

Choosing a Restaurant

There are certain important things that the diabetics should also remember while choosing to eat out:

  • They need to find out whether the restaurants they are visiting offer diabetic-friendly options. Research the restaurant and their menu beforehand.
  • They should not accept just anything that is available in the menu. They should be particular about the menus they are choosing.
  • They should not feel awkward letting the waiter know about food preparation preferences. It is very important to watch what you eat.
  • Be mindful about portion control.
  • Avoid the extras, and ask for substitutes when necessary.

Having diabetes has become a social problem and social responsibility. We all must work together to have a healthier nation. Restaurants can opt to include healthier options, but we have to opt to pick those healthy options. That is our personal responsibility. We all deserve to be healthy. That starts at the table.

Do you suffer from diabetes? How do you choose a restaurant?