A complication arising due to prolonged periods of high blood sugar, diabetic foot is a condition characterized by foot problems or injuries which occur due to nerve damage in the extremities and can cause ulcer and infection. The feet do not get adequate supply of blood or oxygen due to the damage to the blood vessels. Foot infections are one of the most common health complications resulting due to diabetes.
There are two main conditions that afflict the foot in persons who have diabetes.
People who are suffering from diabetes for prolonged periods of time blisters, cuts and sores without the person becoming aware of it.
Fatty deposits can block the blood vessels in legs which tends to reduce the blood flow, resulting in slow- healing wounds, pain and infection. In severe cases, it may even result in an amputation.
The main cause of diabetic foot is the high blood sugar levels in the body, which damages the nerves. This nerve damage results in a loss of sensation in the feet. This, in turn, has a cascading effect where the person is unable to feel any wound or irritation in the feet, which can result in untreated infections. These, if allowed to fester, can lead to more serious complications such as gangrene, and can require an amputation.
Another effect of the nerve damage is that the feet’s ability to sweat is impaired. The resultant dry feet causes cracks, which allows germs to enter the body. Diabetes can also cause the blood vessels to shrink and harden, which makes it harder to fight infection.
Depending on the severity of the condition, there are a variety of surgical and non-surgical treatment options available. Non-surgical treatment options include basic steps such as cleaning and dressing the wounds, and close, frequent observation of the foot for signs of gangrene.
If the severity of the diabetic foot is beyond the cure of non-surgical methods, surgical procedures are resorted to. This includes removal of the dead or decaying tissue, amputation, arterial bypass for peripheral vascular disease or an endovascular surgery with stents.
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