“Don’t touch the stove, honey—it’s hot” or “Look both ways before you cross the street” are just two things we often say to our kids. When you are a mom or dad, you devote yourself to caring for your children and protecting them from things that could harm them. If you have diabetes, we encourage you to take that same attitude toward another part of you that needs your protective care—your feet. Especially, we want to help you prevent nerve damage and the complications it can involve in your lower limbs.
There are many things you can do to keep your nerves healthy, but they may involve some lifestyle changes for you. First, you need to eat the right foods to keep your blood sugar levels under control and the vessels open and flowing freely. Fluctuating glucose levels damage nerve cells, and poor blood flow keeps them from getting the nourishment they need to heal again. Make sure your diet does not encourage plaque buildup in your arteries, and exercise regularly to get your heart rate up and improve circulation.
Next, use your blood glucose meter to track and maintain sugar levels within range, and get your A1C test at least twice a year. This lab test tracks your average glucose levels over a 2 to 3-month period before the test.
Finally, be on the watch for signs of neuropathy like tingling or burning sensations, unexplained pain, or numbness and lack of feeling. If you notice these, get checked as soon as possible, because there are treatments that can slow down the damage or even reverse it in some cases.
If you already have neuropathy, care for diabetic feet must take center stage. This means having a plan that includes proper hygiene and checking your feet daily for any cuts, scrapes, or blisters that could develop into an ulcer. Non-healing wounds on the feet are the biggest risk factor for amputation for people with diabetes, so monitor your lower limbs faithfully.
A podiatrist is a very important part of your health care team when you have diabetes, and we would be honored to have you trust your feet to our care. Call Sierra Foot & Ankle in Gardnerville, NV at (775) 783-8037, or reach us toll free at (888) 608-8406 in the larger Carson Valley area. You can also schedule an appointment online if you prefer.