Diabetics at Greater Risk of Skin Problems

Mike has some neuropathy in his feet and legs. Controlling his diabetes has allowed for some of the feeling to return. He recently saw a diabetic foot nurse who gave him a pedicure and spoke to him about caring for his feet. She said that diabetics have to watch for wounds in their feet. Diabetics with neuropathy develop a lot of callus and eventually the thick callus cracks and splits creating an open wound. Toe nails need to be trimmed straight across, not following the curve of the toenail. Clean under the toenail with the blunt edge of a tool, don’t poke the tissue under the nail bed. Soaking the foot before cleaning and trimming can be helpful. Use an emery board to sand the callus areas of the foot. After soaking the foot or after a bath or shower, be sure to thoroughly dry the area between the toes. She also used an ultrasound machine on Mike’s feet. She was listening for “two heart beats” and did hear them in both feet. I think she was listening for blood flow into and then out of the feet; which would mean good circulation, back and forth.

Diabetics are at greater risk of skin problems. If you are diabetic, check your feet dail
Diabetics are at greater risk of skin problems. If you are diabetic, check your feet daily.

Diabetic neuropathy in uncontrolled diabetes can damage your nerves. If you have neuropathy you might not feel heat, cold or pain. You could develop a sore or cut on a foot and not know until it gets infected, then you are at risk of developing gangrene. Gangrene is death to tissue due to lack of blood and leads to amputation.

Some common diabetic foot problems include athlete’s foot, fungal infections of the nails, calluses, corns, dry skin, foot ulcers, in-grown toenails, and plantar warts.

If your blood glucose is high, your body loses fluid, causing your skin to become dry. This occurs because the body is turning the water into urine to remove excess glucose from the blood. Your skin also can get dry if the nerves, especially those in your legs and feet, do not get the message to sweat (because of diabetic neuropathy). Sweating helps keep your skin soft and moist.

Skin problems are common in people with diabetes. Blood glucose provides an excellent breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, and can reduce the body’s ability to heal itself. These factors put people with diabetes at greater risk for skin problems.

Read here on how to give yourself a foot exam.


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