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Foot Ulcers: Is Your Diabetes Responsible For It!

Health issues start affecting an individual after a certain age. It is usually age related issues but sometimes due to other factors people have health issues. Sedentary lifestyle and obesity are the main reasons for people getting life style diseases at an early age. Genetics also play a vital role but with good lifestyle modifications the onset of these diseases could be prevented to a certain extent.

Diabetes is a life style disease and though it is not life threatening as such it can be the major cause for other complications. A person with diabetes should take adequate care regarding his health and should follow the physician’s advice. Steps should be taken to keep diabetes under control and the blood sugar levels should be monitored at regular intervals.

Foot ulcer can be described as an open sore on the foot. It can be shallow or deep. If it is deep tendons and bones are affected. People having diabetes and people with poor circulation may develop foot ulcers. Diabetics need to take adequate care of their feet. Prolonged diabetes patients should visit a podiatrist if they are suffering from foot ulcer.

If a foot ulcer is not treated at the right time then, it might lead to complications. The infection may spread and at a later course it may develop as a gangrene. With diabetics, foot ulcer is a serious condition and it needs to be addressed at the earliest as delay would lead to the infection getting worse. In serious cases amputation remains the only solution.

Who Is Affected By Foot Ulcer

Peripheral Neuropathy

Here, the nerve damage is caused in the lower legs or in the feet. Diabetes is the major cause for developing peripheral neuropathy. When the nerves in the foot are damaged then, the person affected with diabetes will not experience pain or discomfort as the nerves become numb.

The problem with patients with peripheral neuropathy is that they are not able feel the pain when something sharp hurts them. It is the same case when they wear an ill-fitting shoe. As they do not feel the pain they might not know if they have a foot ulcer unless they check it for themselves.

Abnormalities in the Bones And Muscles In The Feet

If there is a condition which distorts the normal anatomy of the body then there are chances of developing foot ulcer. If a foot is forced into shoes that do not fit the altered shape of the foot, then it may develop as a foot ulcer. Feet with fractures, claw feet and people suffering from severe arthritis are prone to develop foot ulcers.

Circulatory Problems

Circulation to the feet is very essential and if any disease which decreases the circulation then, there is cause to worry. Peripheral artery disease is a disease where there is poor circulation in the leg arteries. This causes discomfort to the patient while walking and in this disease fatty deposits of cholesterol builds up inside the arteries.

Of all the people, diabetics are prone to foot ulcers as patients suffering from diabetes for a long time may develop circulatory problems and peripheral neuropathy. So diabetic patients should take adequate care of their health and especially their feet.

Symptoms

This foot ulcer can be found at the sides or at the bottom of the foot. It also occurs on the toe. It is a red carter and it is surrounded by thickened skin. If the carter is deep enough then the bones and tendons are visible. Usually elderly or disabled persons will not be aware of the carter and it is the care giver who notices this. It is also characterised by a foul odour.

How It Is Diagnosed

Usually a physician can tell whether the wound is a foot ulcer by looking at the foot. He just makes sure how deep it is affected by looking at it closely and by doing some tests. Usually a patient is asked to walk and by the gait the physician comes to a conclusion whether it is caused by diabetes or due to some other abnormalities. He checks by exerting pressure so that the patient is sensitive to pain. In certain cases ultra sound scan is advised to determine circulation. Usually a cotton swab is used to determine how deep the ulcer is.

The other tests performed for diagnosis are x rays, blood culture of the ulcer, blood tests, bone scan, etc.

Duration

In mild cases it might take about 12 weeks to get it healed completely and in severe cases it might take about 20 weeks. If there is good circulation then it can be cured in about 3 weeks. But continuous visits to the doctor for dressing is highly recommended.

Prevention

The diabetes patients should examine their foot every day. They should wash their feet with soap and warm water. Moisturizer should be applied in dry areas of the feet after drying them. Choose well-fitting shoes and search for foreign objects if any before wearing the shoes.

So diabetes patients should take good care of themselves to prevent foot ulcers.