Diabetic foot ulcer – A deadly manifestation of diabetes mellitus!

Diabetes Mellitus has emerged as one of the biggest healthcare challenges of the century; it has a wide prevalence and spreads over advanced, developing and underdeveloped nations and across various income groups. Diabetes as it is commonly known is increasingly being perceived as a life style disorder whose spread has reached staggering proportions due to an increasing sedentary life style, lack of physical exercise, high consumption of saturated/processed/high carbohydrate food, increased mental pressure/stress.
What makes diabetes a most serious threat is that it has a broad spectrum impact on almost every part of the body! Presence of uncontrolled sugar levels in the blood for long periods can reduce immunity, critically impair the functioning of the vital organs leading to a host of ailments,  make the treatment of ailments and recovery very challenging and cause heart attacks, strokes and renal failure.
Let us take a look at the various diabetes caused ailments
  • Heart and cardiovascular ailments
  • Nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy)
  • Kidney damage (diabetic nephropathy)
  • Eye damage ( diabetic retinopathy)
  • Foot damage- (diabetic foot ulcer)
  • Skin and mouth ailments
  • Hearing impairment
  • Alzheimer’s
While diabetes adversely impacts and damages organs and parts of the body from the head to the foot, in this article we will take a look at its degenerative and debilitating affect on the bottom most part of the body the ‘Foot.’ Damage of nerves and blood vessels in the feet caused by diabetic neuropathy resulting in open sores, ulcers which take prolonged time to heal causing ‘Diabetic Foot Ulcer’, It is among the most serious diabetes caused health threats which could lead to the loss of one’s foot or in more serious cases the entire leg.  
While controlling sugar levels in the blood through proper medication, exercise and lifestyle changes is at the bottom of treating any diabetes induced ailment including ‘Diabetic Foot Ulcer’, the following steps would help in prevention and early diagnosis of the same. While it is advisable for both diabetics and non diabetics to ensure good foot health, it is imperative for diabetics to keep a close everyday physical watch at their feet (loss of sensitivity would keep the person blissfully unaware of the problem) and ensure that the below precautions are adhered to.
Examine your feet daily and look for signs of injury, such as scrapes, cuts, blisters, etc.
Wear appropriate fitting shoes to avoid injury and blisters.
Don’t walk barefoot.
Moisturize your feet daily.
Wash and dry your feet daily.
Trim your toenails straight across to avoid ingrown nails.
See a doctor to remove corns or calluses (don’t do it yourself).
Treat cuts immediately to avoid infection (clean wounds daily and apply antibiotic ointment).
The heartening news is that non healing foot ulcers can be cured and their recurrence prevented in weeks through a double pronged approach of progressively reducing sugar levels in the blood and a specialized treatment regimen by your diabetologist that includes simple day care surgery and use of special shoe wear. Failure to check and act on the above symptoms could lead to more serious infection that does not respond to medication leading to gangrene and amputation of the toe, foot or leg! So precaution and prevention are the key to keeping diabetic foot ulcer at bay.

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