Keep your feet and skin healthy
S. Bamila MV Centre for Diabetic Foot Care, Podiatry, Research and Management
What are diabetes problems?
Too much glucose in the blood for a long time can cause diabetes problems. This can damage many parts of the body, such as the heart, blood vessels, eyes, and kidneys. Heart and blood vessel disease can lead to heart attacks and strokes. You can do a lot to prevent or slow down diabetes problems.
This information is about feet and skin problems caused by diabetes. You will learn the things you can do each day and each year to stay healthy and prevent diabetes problems.
High blood glucose can cause feet and skin problems.
What should I do each day to stay healthy with diabetes?
Follow a healthy eating plan that you work out with our doctor or dietitian.
Be active for a total of thirty minutes most days. Ask your doctor what activities are best for you.
Take your medicines as directed.
Check your blood glucose every day. Each time you check your blood glucose, record it.
Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, sores, swelling, redness, or sore toenails.
Brush and floss your teeth every day.
Control your blood pressure and cholesterol.
How can diabetes hurt my feet?
High blood glucose from diabetes causes two problems that can hurt your feet:
Nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy). With damaged nerves, you might not feel pain, heat, or cold in your legs and feet. A sore or cut on your foot may get worse because you do not know it is there. This lack of feeling is caused by nerve damage. Nerve damage can lead to infected ulcers.
Poor blood flow (peripheral vascular disease). Not enough blood flows to your legs and feet. Poor blood flow makes it hard for a sore or infection to heal. Smoking when you have diabetes worsens blood flow problems.
These two problems can work together to cause a foot problem. For example, you wear shoes that do not fit and develop a blister. You may not feel the pain from the blister because you have nerve damage in your foot. You neglect it. The blister gets infected. If blood glucose is high, the extra glucose feeds the germs. Germs grow and the infection gets worse. Poor blood flow to your legs and feet can slow down healing. Sometimes a bad infection never heals. The infection might cause gangrene. If a person has gangrene the skin and tissue around the sore die. The area becomes black and smelly. To keep gangrene from spreading, a doctor may have to do surgery to cut off a toe, foot, or part of a leg. Cutting off a body part is called an amputation.
What can I do to take care of my feet?
Look at your feet every day to check for problems.
Wash your feet in warm water every day. Make sure the water is not too hot by testing the temperature with your elbow. Do not soak your feet. Dry your feet well, especially between your toes.
Look at your feet every day to check for cuts, sores, blisters, redness, calluses, or other problems. Checking every day is even more important if you have nerve damage or poor blood flow. If you cannot bend over or pull your feet up to check them, use a mirror. If you cannot see well, ask someone else to check your feet.
If your skin is dry, rub lotion on your feet after you wash and dry them. Do not put lotion between your toes.
File corns and calluses gently with an emery board or pumice stone. Do this after your bath or shower.
Cut your toenails once a week or when needed. Cut toe nails after a bath, when they are soft. Cut them to the shape of the toe and not too short. File the edges with an emery board.
Always wear slippers or shoes to protect your feet from injuries.
Wear shoes that fit well. Shop for shoes at the end of the day when your feet are bigger. Break in shoes slowly. Wear them 1 to 2 hours each day for the first few weeks.
Always wear socks or stockings to avoid blisters. Do not wear socks or knee-high stockings that are too tight.
Before putting your shoes on, feel the insides to make sure they have no sharp edges or objects that might injure your feet.
How can my doctor help me take care of my feet?
Tell your doctor right away about any foot problems.
Your doctor should do a complete foot exam every year.
Ask your doctor to look at your feet at each diabetes checkup. To make sure your doctor checks your feet, take off your shoes and socks before your doctor comes into the room.
Ask your doctor to check how well the nerves in your feet sense feeling.
Ask your doctor to check how well blood is flowing to your legs and feet.
Ask your doctor to show you the best way to trim your toenails. Ask what lotion or cream to use on your legs and feet.
If you cannot cut your toenails or you have a foot problem, ask your doctor to recommend a podiatrist.
What are common diabetes foot problems?
Anyone can have corns, blisters, and other foot problems. If you have diabetes and your blood glucose stays high, these foot problems can lead to infections.
Corns and calluses are thick layers of skin caused by too much rubbing or pressure on the same spot. Corns and calluses can become infected.
Blisters can form if shoes always rub the same spot. Wearing shoes that do not fit or wearing shoes without socks can cause blisters. Blisters can become infected.
Ingrown toenails happen when an edge of the nail grows into the skin. The skin can get red and infected. Ingrown toenails can happen if you cut into the corners of your toenails when you trim them. You can also get an ingrown toenail if your shoes are too tight. If toenail edges are sharp, smooth them with an emery board.
A bunion forms when your big toe slants toward the small toes and the place between the bones near the base of your big toe grows big. This spot can get red, sore, and infected. Bunions can form on one or both feet. Pointed shoes may cause bunions. Bunions often run in the family. Surgery can remove bunions.
Plantar warts are caused by a virus. The warts usually form on the bottoms of the feet.
Hammertoes form when a foot muscle gets weak. Diabetic nerve damage may cause the weakness. The weakened muscle makes the tendons in the foot shorter and makes the toes curl under the feet. You may get sores on the bottoms of your feet and on the tops of your toes. The feet can change their shape. Hammertoes can cause problems with walking and finding shoes that fit well. Hammertoes can run in the family. Wearing shoes that are too short can also cause hammertoes.
Dry and cracked skin can happen because the nerves in your legs and feet do not get the message to keep your skin soft and moist. Dry skin can become cracked. Cracks allow germs to enter and cause infection. If your blood glucose is high, it feeds the germs and makes the infection worse.
Athlete’s foot is a fungus that causes itchiness, redness, and cracking of the skin. The cracks between the toes allow germs to get under the skin and cause infection. If your blood glucose is high, it feeds the germs and makes the infection worse. The infection can spread to the toenails and make them thick, yellow, and hard to cut.
Tell your doctor about any foot problem as soon as you see it.
How can special shoes help my feet?
Special shoes can be made to fit softly around your sore feet or feet that have changed shape. These special shoes help protect your feet.
How can diabetes hurt my skin?
Diabetes can hurt your skin in two ways:
If your blood glucose is high, your body loses fluid. With less fluid in your body, your skin can get dry. Dry skin can be itchy, causing you to scratch and make it sore. Also, dry skin can crack. Cracks allow germs to enter and cause infection. If your blood glucose is high, it feeds germs and makes infections worse. You may get dry skin on your legs, feet, elbows, and other places on your body.
Drinking fluids helps keep your skin moist and healthy.
Nerve damage can decrease the amount you sweat. Sweating helps keep your skin soft and moist. Decreased sweating in your feet and legs can cause dry skin.
What can I do to take care of my skin?
After you wash with a mild soap, make sure you rinse and dry yourself well. Check places where water can hide, such as under the arms, under the breasts, between the legs, and between the toes.
Keep your skin moist by using a lotion or cream after you wash. Ask your doctor to suggest one.
Drink lots of fluids, such as water, to keep your skin moist and healthy.
Wear all-cotton underwear. Cotton allows air to move around your body better.
Check your skin after you wash. Make sure you have no dry, red, or sore spots that might lead to an infection.
Tell your doctor about any skin problems.
Welcome to M.V Hospital for Diabetes, established by late Prof. M.Viswanathan, Doyen of Diabetology in India in 1954 as a general hospital. In 1971 it became a hospital exclusively for Diabetes care. It has, at present,100 beds for the treatment of diabetes and its complications.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Keep your feet and skin healthy
Bookmark this post:
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
M.V.Hospital for Diabetes and Prof.M.V.DRC, Royapuram
These days many people are away from home at lunchtime and don't think about lunch ... until it is lunchtime! Diabetics need to pay extra attention to their diet because they have to regulate their blood sugar levels. They often wonder why their pre-dinner blood glucose reading is high. The first question they ask themselves is “What did I have for lunch?”According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetics should balance the carbohydrate, protein and fat in their meals to prevent blood sugar spikes.
If lunches are eaten at home, their preparation and serving do not present problems... For a diabetic, lunchtime can be quite a challenge if eaten away from home. Eating out, picking up a sandwich, some fast food or having business lunches can create problems with both blood sugar and weight.
Although it is possible to eat out and still keep your diabetes under control, it is definitely not an easy task.
Consult a registered dietitian who can suggest a plan for you.
Here are some tips for lunches that are tasty as well as nutritious.
* Choose a healthy beverage to include with your lunch. Water is the best choice because it quenches thirst and has no sugar or calories. . Avoid regular sodas and juices, as they are full of sugar.
* Use whole grain cereal such as wheat flour. Whole grains are richer in fiber, vitamins and minerals than refined grains such as white bread. The fiber content helps keep you feeling full and minimizes blood sugar spikes.
* Your lunch should have a protein-rich food to stabilize blood sugar levels.
* Balance your lunch with a fruit and vegetable servings. Pack an apple, a guava, an orange, or a pear in your lunch box for some extra nutrients.
* Diabetics can take any amount of non-starchy vegetables as they are low in calories and carbohydrate.
* It is important to know how many servings of each food group you can eat daily.
Eating out includes extra large portions or food choices that are too high in carbohydrate, fat and calories. Even when you think you are making a healthy choice, it may be the wrong choice.
* Use fresh vegetables like cucumber, cabbage, carrot, beetroot, radish, tomato, onion , sprouted grams and fruits in salads.
Things to consider when packing a lunch that will be nutritious and keep blood sugars controlled...
Prepare and pack whatever you can the night before so that you are not rushing around in the morning: Plan your menu keeping in mind the different food groups.
Carbohydrate – Carbs have the greatest effect on your blood sugar. If you have too much carbohydrate, your blood sugar will be too high. You need to be aware of how many carbs to eat at each meal. Be familiar with the amount of carbohydrate in the foods you choose.
* Protein – Milk ,curd, dhal, whole grams, sprouted grams, roasted grams, nuts, meat, fish, chicken and eggs are good sources of protein.
* Fat – Fat is expensive in terms of calories (9 calories per gram). Pack a lunch that minimizes fat intake.
* Fiber – Add fiber to your lunch. 25-40 grams of fiber each day is the daily requirement. Whole grains, whole grams, vegetable greens, salads and fruits should be included in your regular diet.
Mixed rice dishes such as tamarind rice, lime rice, curd rice with pickles, papads, vatal, chips, chutney, vada, and pakodas are favourite items for lunch.
But these are the wrong choice of food. You can have rice and dhal, vegetables and curd, or chapatti with vegetable kootu and curd. Fruits can be eaten as a snack between meals.
Be creative with your lunch to avoid boredom. It may be easier to buy lunch everyday, but by investing a little time and effort in home-made lunches you can be on your way to better blood sugar control. You may even save some money!
Bookmark this post: