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Diabetes Care

Diabetic Foot Ulcer

The foot is one body part that is very susceptible to infection in diabetics, making appropriate foot care a necessity. When the skin of the foot is rendered open to external elements, due to a break or laceration, infection may soon follow. The tissue underneath the skin may then be damaged if the infection progresses. Implementing the right type of medical care immediately may halt the progression of the infection so that surgery is not needed.

1. The small arteries and capillaries that deliver nutrients and oxygen to the foot may suffer from microvascular disease.

2. The nerve tissue might be affected. The danger with this is that the patient might not be alerted to serious injuries suffered by his foot due to contact with certain things like carpet tacks or heating pads.

3. The major arteries of the limbs and feet might become narrower or completely blocked due to macrovascular disease of large vessels.

4. Ulceration and infection can result from the presence of structural deformities of the foot (including corns, bunions, cocked toes, and hammertoe.)

5. The feet might experience unnecessary pressure because its shoes do not fit properly, making the individual susceptible to developing corns or callouses. (A callous refers to the thickening of the skin's outer layers that reduces the cushioning of the soles of the feet to a certain degree.)

Diabetic Foot Ulcer Treatment

Diabetic patients must learn to care properly for their feet and toes everyday. This means drying the areas between the toes well, and looking for signs of fungal or bacterial infection. The patient should be alert to the risk posed by bruises, blisters, scratches, and cuts on the feet. Patients should also try to discern if their lower extremities are experiencing decreased sensation, dryness, pallor, or coolness which may indicate the onset of poor circulation and neuropathy. Pressure areas, corns and bunions can be avoided if the patient wears molded shoes. Any infection present must be immediately treated.

When washing the feet, you can use lukewarm, not hot, water. Never soak your feet in water for a long time - maceration and infection may occur due to softening of the skin. Be gentle yet thorough in drying your feet. It is necessary to use moisture restoring cream to retain the skin's moisture - never use other lotions or creams, especially between the toes. If your feet tend to sweat, use talcum powder but do not allow the powder to cake in areas between toes. When cutting your nails, clip them straight across then rely on an emery board to smoothen edges. Never attempt to cut your corns and calluses. To determine the right routine foot care to follow, seek the advice of a podiatrist (especially when your dexterity or vision is compromised.) Diabetics benefit the most from cotton socks, which should be changed everyday. Diabetics should also completely avoid hot water bottles and electric heating pads since these may severely burn the legs and feet, leaving such extremities vulnerable to gangrene. A podiatrist is the specialist who should undertake certain types of foot care for the patient, such as trimming and debridement of callous formation.

A vascular surgeon should be consulted when it seems that the blood vessels of the lower extremities are getting narrower or becoming completely blocked, necessitating surgery. One type of treatment for arteriosclerotic vessels is the vascular bypass operation. This involves getting a segment of a vein in the leg which will be relocated to the affected area of the artery.

 



       



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