Type 2 diabetes affects more than your blood sugar levels. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and leads to complications such as heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, and diabetic foot ulcers. If you have Type 2 diabetes and are concerned about foot ulcers, here's what you need to know.
What are diabetic foot ulcers?
Diabetic foot ulcers are cuts or sores on your feet that will not heal. They are a severe complication of the disease, notoriously difficult to heal, and can lead to amputation if left untreated.
What are the symptoms of diabetic foot ulcers?
The most common symptom of a diabetic foot ulcer is pain, although you may also notice:
- Drainage from the wound
- A feeling of warmth in the affected area
If you have diabetes, it's essential to check your feet daily for any signs of wounds or sores.
What causes diabetic foot ulcers?
Many factors can contribute to the development of diabetic foot ulcers, including:
- Poor blood circulation
- Nerve damage
- Reduced immune function
- Excessive pressure on the feet
Poorly fitting shoes are also a factor leading to diabetic foot ulcers. In fact, there are specialty shoes designed to reduce the risk of foot ulcers in people with diabetes.
When should you contact a doctor?
You should contact your doctor immediately if you have diabetes and develop a foot ulcer. They will likely prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection and may refer you to a wound care specialist.
How are diabetic foot ulcers treated?
Treating diabetic foot ulcers requires a multi-disciplinary approach and will vary depending on the severity of the wound. However, your treatment plan will likely include:
- Wound care. The most crucial part of treating diabetic foot ulcers is wound care, which may involve cleaning the wound, changing the dressing, and using medications to promote healing.
- Off-loading. Off-loading is a process of relieving pressure on the wound to allow it to heal. You may do this by wearing special shoes or using a wheelchair.
- Surgery. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove dead tissue or repair damage to the foot.
- Amputation. In the most severe cases, amputation may be necessary to prevent the spread of infection.
Additionally, you will need to closely monitor your blood sugar levels and take steps to control diabetes.
How do you prevent diabetic foot ulcers?
There are several things you can do to prevent diabetic foot ulcers, including:
- Check your feet daily for any signs of wounds or sores.
- Wear shoes that fit well and protect your feet.
- Exercise regularly to improve blood circulation.
- Don't smoke.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Monitor your blood sugar levels.
If you have diabetes, you need to be aware of how serious diabetic foot ulcers are. By knowing the symptoms and causes, you can work with your doctor and take steps to prevent them.
Reach out to a clinic like Wells Surgical Services LLC to learn more.