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Type 1 Diabetes & foot complication

Edited: 24.07.2024

Anne-Charlotte Ficheroulle

Pharmacist, Digital Innovation Manager, A4D

1. How Type 1 Diabetes can cause foot complications?

High blood glucose levels can seriously damage parts of your body and can lead to circulation and infection problems which can cause a loss of feeling in the feet or on opposite too much feeling like tingling and burning sensation.

If left untreated, these problems can cause foot injuries which do not heal well and you may not notice if your foot is sore or injured. This can lead to ulcers and infections. At worse, it could lead to amputations.

2. Spotting the signs of foot problems.

It’s recommended that you check your feet every day for the following signs and report them to your doctor:

  • Tingling sensation or pins and needles (like numbness)

  • Pain (burning)

  • A dull ache

  • Shiny, smooth skin on your feet

  • Hair loss on your legs and feet

  • Loss of feeling in your feet or legs

  • Swollen feet

  • Your feet don’t sweat

  • Wounds or sores that don’t heal

  • Cramp in your calves when resting or walking

But if you notice any of the following alarming changes, please contact your doctor immediately :

  • Changes in the colour and shape of your feet

  • Cold or hot feet

  • Blisters and cuts that you can see but don’t feel

  • Foul smell coming from an open wound

You should also get a foot check-up at least once a year to see if there are any changes with the nerves.
What is a foot check-up? A trained professional will check your legs and feet for any numbness, poor circulation, corns, calluses, nail problems, and other conditions. They will discuss whether your child is at risk of developing any foot problems.

3. Tips to reduce the risk of foot problems.

  • Ensure to keep your blood glucose level in his target range

  • Wear comfortable shoes that fit well. And avoid tight-fitting shoes and high heels where possible

  • Keep your feet clean and dry to avoid infection

  • Keep toenails trimmed

  • Do not go barefoot outside to avoid cuts and grazes

  • Try to exercise 30 min per day

4. Unmanaged Type 1 Diabetes can lead to more serious complications

Without proper management, Type 1 Diabetes can lead to a serious complication known as gangrene. This is a life-threatening condition wherein the tissues of the body are deprived of blood flow, and eventually results in tissue death.

Treating gangrene is a complicated process that involves removing infected or dead tissue, prescribing antibiotics to control infection, and in some cases, surgery to fix damaged blood vessels.

If gangrene is not treated properly and in a timely manner, it can lead to amputation of any affected body parts, or in more serious cases, sepsis.

Sepsis is a complication wherein an infection spreads to different parts of the body, causing serious and adverse reactions. If untreated, sepsis can eventually lead to death. Managing your diabetes properly can prevent a whole host of complications and health problems down the line, so it should always be a top priority for persons with diabetes.

Here are some symptoms to watch out for:

  • Fever that doesn’t go away

  • Skin changes that do not fade

  • Discharge from a sore or wound

  • The skin feels cold, hard, and/or numb

  • There is pain at the site of trauma or surgery

If you experience any of these symptoms, it would be a good idea to visit your doctor as soon as possible to get yourself looked at.

5. Key Takeaways

People usually associate complications such as heart problems or hypertension with Type 1 diabetes. However, it is important for people to know that foot problems can also potentially be a serious concern, especially with diabetes that’s not managed well.

This is why it is important for people living with diabetes to stay on top of their condition by eating healthy, engaging in daily exercise, and following their doctor’s orders so that they can control the effects of Type 1 diabetes.

It is also important to take note of any possible symptoms of foot problems so that they can be addressed before the symptoms get worse.

Take the quiz on foot complication now!

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